Joseph Conrad


Easton Press Joseph Conrad books

The Nigger of The Narcissus - 1965
Heart of Darkness - 1980
Lord Jim - 1977
Short Stories
Nostromo, A Tale of The Seaboard - 1983
The Secret Agent
Youth, Typhoon and The End of The Tether - 2009


Franklin Library Joseph Conrad books

Lord Jim - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1977
Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard - 20th Century's Greatest Books - 1981
Lord Jim - World's Best Loved Books - 1981
Heart of Darkness and other tales - Collected Stories of the World's Greatest Writers - 1982
Eight Tales by Joseph Conrad - World's Best Loved Books - 1985

 

Joseph Conrad biography

Joseph Conrad, born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857, in Berdychiv, Ukraine, was a Polish-British novelist widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of the English language. His life story is as adventurous and complex as the narratives he crafted in his novels. Conrad's early years were marked by tragedy and upheaval. His parents, Apollo Korzeniowski and Ewa Bobrowska, were members of the Polish nobility, and Conrad spent his childhood in Imperial Russia. However, at the age of 11, he lost both of his parents to illness, and the family's estate was confiscated by the Russian authorities. This traumatic experience left a lasting impact on Conrad and influenced his later works.

In 1874, at the age of 16, Conrad set out to sea, beginning a maritime career that would shape his future as a writer. Over the next two decades, he sailed on various vessels, including French and British ships, exploring the far reaches of the world and experiencing the harsh realities of life at sea. His voyages provided him with a rich reservoir of material for his later novels, imbuing them with a profound sense of the sea's vastness and the human struggle against its forces. Conrad eventually became a British citizen in 1886 and began his literary career in earnest. Despite English being his third language, after Polish and French, Conrad mastered it with remarkable skill. His debut novel, Almayer's Folly, was published in 1895, followed by a series of works that would secure his reputation as a literary giant. Some of his most celebrated novels include Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, and The Secret Agent.

Conrad's writing often delved into the complexities of human nature, exploring themes such as colonialism, existentialism, and the moral ambiguities of life. Heart of Darkness, in particular, stands out as a powerful critique of European imperialism. Despite facing initial challenges in gaining widespread recognition, Conrad's reputation grew steadily, and today he is considered a literary master whose works continue to be studied and admired. Joseph Conrad passed away on August 3, 1924, in Canterbury, England. His legacy endures not only in his novels but also in the profound influence he had on subsequent generations of writers, exploring the depths of the human soul through the lens of the sea and the human experience. Joseph Conrad's novels and short stories appeared regularly until his death, and his reading public increased over the years from a small group of appreciative critics to a large number of admirers in every part of the English speaking world. Joseph Conrad's style is lucid, imaginative, forceful, and euphonious. The subject mater of his tales is high adventure.


The Duel

The Duel is a novella written by Joseph Conrad, first published in 1908. The story is set in the 1790s and is inspired by real events. It explores themes of honor, morality, and the psychological impact of isolation. The narrative unfolds in a small Russian garrison on the Caspian Sea, where two officers, Tomkin and D'Hubert, become entangled in a series of duels. The initial conflict arises when Tomkin accuses D'Hubert of flirting with his wife. However, the reasons behind the duels are complex and multi-layered, involving misunderstandings, societal expectations, and the rigid code of honor prevalent at the time.

As the duels progress, Conrad delves into the psychological toll exacted on the two protagonists. The isolation and obsessive nature of their conflict lead to a surreal and tense atmosphere. The story serves as a character study, examining the impact of honor on individuals and the erosion of personal identity in the face of societal expectations. Conrad, known for his exploration of the human psyche and the consequences of moral choices, employs The Duel to dissect the complexities of honor and its destructive potential. The novella reflects his broader themes of the human condition and the clash between individual morality and societal norms. The Duel is not as widely read as some of Conrad's more famous works, but it remains an intriguing exploration of human behavior and the consequences of rigid adherence to codes of honor.

 

Lord Jim

Jim, a young British seaman, becomes first mate on the Patna, a ship full of pilgrims travelling to Mecca for the hajj. When the ship starts rapidly taking on water and disaster seems imminent, Jim joins his captain and other crew members in abandoning the ship and its passengers. A few days later, they are picked up by a British ship. However, the Patna and its passengers are later also saved, and the reprehensible actions of the crew are exposed. The other participants evade the judicial court of inquiry, leaving Jim to the court alone. He is publicly censured for this action and the novel follows his later attempts at coming to terms with his past. The novel is counted as one of 100 best books of the 20th century.

First published in 1900, Lord Jim established Conrad as one of the great storytellers of the twentieth century. Set in the Malay Archipelago, the novel not only provides a gripping account of maritime adventure and romance, but also an exotic tale of the East. Its themes also challenge the conventions of nineteenth-century adventure fiction, confirming Conrad's place in literature as one of the first 'modernists' of English letters.


Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness, a novel by Joseph Conrad, was originally a three-part series in Blackwood's Magazine in 1899. It is a story within a story, following a character named Charlie Marlow, who recounts his adventure to a group of men onboard an anchored ship. The story told is of his early life as a ferry boat captain. Although his job was to transport ivory downriver, Charlie develops an interest in investing an ivory procurement agent, Kurtz, who is employed by the government. Preceded by his reputation as a brilliant emissary of progress, Kurtz has now established himself as a god among the natives in “one of the darkest places on earth.” Marlow suspects something else of Kurtz: he has gone mad.

A reflection on corruptive European colonialism and a journey into the nightmare psyche of one of the corrupted, Heart of Darkness is considered one of the most influential works ever written.

The finest of all Conrad's tales, Heart of Darkness is set in an atmosphere of mystery and menace, and tells of Marlow's perilous journey up the Congo River to relieve his employer's agent, the renowned and formidable Mr. Kurtz. What he sees on his journey, and his eventual encounter with Kurtz, horrify and perplex him, and call into question the very bases of civilization and human nature. Endlessly reinterpreted by critics and adapted for film, radio, and television, the story shows Conrad at his most intense and sophisticated.


Nostromo - A Tale of The Seaboard

A gripping tale of capitalist exploitation and rebellion, set amid the mist-shrouded mountains of a fictional South American republic, employs flashbacks and glimpses of the future to depict the lure of silver and its effects on men. Conrad's deeply moral consciousness and masterful narrative technique are at their best in this, one of his finest works.

Set in the fictional South American republic of Costaguana, with a turbulent past marked by tyranny and revolution, the story follows the wealthy Charles Gould, who has decided to use his lucrative silver mine to back the current dictator in an effort to stabilize the regime. When the plan backfires, plunging the country into yet another period of turmoil and warfare, Gould, fearing that his silver will fall into the hands of invading revolutionaries, entrusts Nostromo, a commanding and charismatic figure in Sulaco, to smuggle it away to safety.

Nostromo's heroism does indeed save the city from revolution, but the silver's eventual fate becomes his own dark secret, and one which will ultimately ruin him. The events, described with tenacious accuracy for detail and authenticity, and conveyed in Conrad's incisive, haunting prose create a complex political narrative and perfectly nuanced character portrayal.


The Nigger of The Narcissus

The Nigger of the Narcissus and Other Stories is a collection of seven shorter works by Joseph Conrad. The titular story is the tale of James Wait, a West Indian black sailor on board the merchant ship 'Narcissus' who falls ill during a voyage from Bombay to London. In "Youth" we have a semi-autobiographical short story which tells the story of the first voyage of Charles Marlow, the narrator of Conrad's most famous novel Heart of Darkness.

James Wait is a dying West Indian black sailor on board the merchant ship Narcissus sailing from Bombay to London. Wait becomes seriously ill during the voyage, and his plight arouses the humanitarian sympathies of many of the crew. However, the ship's captain and an old sailor named Singleton remain concerned primarily with their duties to the ship and appear indifferent to Wait's condition.


The Secret Agent

Mr Verloc, the secret agent, keeps a shop in London's Soho where he lives with his wife Winnie, her infirm mother, and her idiot brother, Stevie. When Verloc is reluctantly involved in an anarchist plot to blow up the Greenwich Observatory things go disastrously wrong, and what appears to be "a simple tale" proves to involve politicians, policemen, foreign diplomats, and London's fashionable society in the darkest and most surprising interrelations.


Youth, Typhoon and The End of The Tether

These stories sprang from Joseph Conrad's own experience sailing in the Far East with the merchant navy.
"For it can hardly be denied that it is not their own desserts that men are most proud of, but rather of their prodigious luck, of their marvelous fortune," wrote Conrad of youth. In it he captures a young man's exhilaration in the face of danger and the unknown.

The End of The Tether is of a different mold. Captain Whalley, aging but still afloat, compromises his principles without understanding what can follow. But life, like the sea, is unsparing, and the captain's fate arrives in due course, served up with Conrad's own brand of uncompromising logic.



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