Joseph Conrad - Joseph Conrad(1857-1924 Born in the Ukraine...

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Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Born in the Ukraine to Polish parents, Conrad was orphaned at an early age and raised by an uncle in Poland In 1874 Conrad went to Marseilles and began a career as a sailor on a French vessel Conrad became a British subject in 1886 and was master of a vessel He retired from the merchant marine in 1894, settled in England, and began writing novels in English (his third language after Polish and French) Most of his novels involve the sea in some sense, although he also wrote political novels Conrad is part of the Modernist movement in English fiction; his narrative technique usually involves the narrator’s individual perception of reality rather than referring to an “objective” reality Conrad’s major novels include The Nigger of Narcissus (1897), Lord Jim (1890), Typhoon (1902), Nostromo (1904), The Secret Agent (1907), and Under Western Eyes (1911) Heart of Darkness (1902) is derived from Conrad’s personal experience in the Congo in 1890
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Heart of Darkness (1902) The story takes place in the Congo Free State, a euphemistic “nation” that was actually the private property of the Belgian King Leopold II Conrad had gotten a job as a Congo river pilot through the influence of a Polish cousin who knew officials in the Belgian company that exploited the Congo Conrad arrived in the Congo in 1890 and hiked the 200 miles from the the mouth of the river to Kinshasa, where he found his steamer damaged and undergoing repairs Conrad was sent out on another steamer, assigned to retrieve a Belgian agent named Georges Antoine Klein, who was ill and died on board (Klein became the fictional Kurtz) Conrad fell ill himself and returned to London, never having served as a Congo River pilot Conrad’s desire to go to Africa originated in childhood; he wrote in 1912: “It was in 1868, when nine years old or thereabouts, that while looking at a map of Africa at the time and putting my finger on the blank space then representing the unsolved mystery of that continent, I said to myself with absolute assurance and an amazing audacity which are not longer in my character now: ‘When I grow up I shall go there’”
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Forthwith a change came over the waters, and the serenity became less brilliant but more profound. The old river in its broad reach rested unruffled at the decline of day, after ages of good service done to the race that peopled its banks, spread out in the tranquil dignity of a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth. We looked at the venerable stream not in the vivid flush of a short day that comes and departs for ever, but in the august light of abiding memories. And indeed nothing is easier for a man who has, as the phrase goes, “followed the sea” with reverence and affection, than to evoke the great spirit of the past upon the lower reaches of the Thames. The tidal current runs to and fro in its unceasing service, crowded with memories of men and ships it has
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This note was uploaded on 02/24/2011 for the course E 316K taught by Professor Berry during the Spring '09 term at University of Texas.

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Joseph Conrad - Joseph Conrad(1857-1924 Born in the Ukraine...

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