The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad

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This volume presents all known Conrad letters from the years 1917-1919 in a framework which highlights their literary, historical, cultural and biographical significance. Like its predecessors, this volume includes a high proportion of previously unpublished letters, and many of those already published have appeared only in small-circulation journals. Again like its predecessors, this volume is full of surprises that require us to remould our understanding of Conrad's writings. His correspondence for these years reveals his state of mind as he and his family dealt with the constant anxieties of the war-time years, and the return to a fragile peace. During this time, Conrad published three novels - The Shadow-Line, The Arrow of Gold, and The Rescue - together with a considerable amount of shorter work, was preparing for the publication of his collected works on both sides of the Atlantic, and was engaged in a critical rereading of his earlier books.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This volume proves the enduring value of good editorial scholarship.... The scrupulous attention to the minutiae of these letters ... will enable scholars for generations to come to explore the world Conrad inhabited in ways previously impossible."
English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Joseph Conrad
Laurence Davies is Research Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College and co-author of Cunninghame Graham: A Critical Biography.

J. H. Stape is Research Fellow at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, London and has taught at universities in England, Canada, France and the Far East. Author of The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad (2007) and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad (1996), he has edited several of Conrad's texts. He has also published on E. M. Forster, William Golding, Thomas Hardy, Frank Harris, Angus Wilson and Virginia Woolf.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jósef Teodor Konrad Walecz Korzeniowski (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 3, 1857
    2. Place of Birth:
      Berdiczew, Podolia, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      August 3, 1924
    2. Place of Death:
      Bishopsbourne, Kent, England

Table of Contents

List of holders of letters; Published sources of letters; Chronology, 1920–1922; Introduction; Conrad's correspondents; Editorial procedures; Letters; Indices.
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First Chapter

Cambridge University Press
9780521561976 - the collected letters of joseph conrad - by laurence davies

To G. Jean-Aubry

   Text MS Yale; Unpublished

   [letterhead: Oswalds]

   1. Jan. 23

Très cher Jean.1

   Enfin nous allons vous voir!

   Venez D[iman]che pour lunch. C’est entendu. Il n’y aura personne ici cette fin de semaine. Moi aussi j’ai de[s] choses a vous dire.

   Je suis bien fâché de savoir que Vous avez du Vs mettre au lit en arrivant.

   Faites pas d’imprudence mon cher aprésant\ast que Vs êtes levé. Le temps est traître.

   Il faut qu’on soit bête a la “Revue”!2 pour envoyer la lettre a Londres.

   J’ai eu une lettre amicale de Gide.

   Je Vous embrasse de tout mon coeur



My very dear Jean.

   We are going to see you at last!

   Comeon Sunday for lunch. That’s settled. No one will be here this week-end. I also have things to tell you.

   I’m quite annoyed to hear that you had to take to bed on your arrival.

   Do be careful, my dear fellow, now that you are up and about again. Time is a betrayer.

   They must be stupid at the Revue to have sent the letter to London.

   I’ve had a friendly letter from Gide.

   I embrace you with all my heart



To Harald Leofurn Clarke

   Text MS photocopy BL RP 2313 (ⅲ)3

   [letterhead: Oswalds]


My dear Mr Clarke.4

   Of course! We must have been shipmates on my first voyage in the Torrens. I made one other in her, when Cottar\ast was again 2d mate and Jones the senior app[renti]ce.5

   I have the best recollection of the ship’s company (on that first voyage) as a whole. But as to individuals I must confess that my memory has grown dim and confused. These are old times – just 30 years ago.

   Nevertheless, pray believe, I was very glad to hear from you. I am touched to learn that I have been remembered by an old shipmate for so many years, and I thank you for the kind thought which has prompted you to write to me.

   With all best wishes for your health and prosperity in the new year I remain dear Mr Clarke,

   very faithfully yours

   Joseph Conrad.

January 1923

   To Richard Curle

   Text MS Indiana; Curle 107


   Tuesday. 2.1.23

Dearest Dick.6

   We were glad to get Your note. I do hope all your worries will be “downed” for good soon.7

   Can you advise me how I could get hold of the No of New Review for Septer 1897? Would advertising in the literary press be the only way – and if so what papers? I think that if I could make up my set of the New Review containing the Nigger serial I could sell it for a few pounds. As it is the 4 nos I have are valueless, I fear.8

   B[orys] was here last Sunday for a few hours. He was notified of a rise in his salary, amounting to £85, from Jan 1st (£100 less 15%).9 He thinks it is very good after only 4½ months service. – I had an optimistic letter from Eric about the prospects of The Rover being out next autumn. – Le Figaro has asked Aubry for an article on Joseph Conrad at an early date: Boom in J. C. in France.10

   Our dear love to you


   Ever yours

   J. C.

To Eric S. Pinker

Text TS/MS Berg; Unpublished

   [letterhead: Oswalds]

   Jan. 3rd. 1922. [1923]1

Dearest Eric.12

   Thank you for your letter answering divers points of mine and containing a ray of light on “The Rover” situation.13 May it not be extinguished by the poisonous breath of the well-known “nigger in the fence” who has been the curse of my existence for years.14 However, I reckon your own luck will come in now to keep him out of our joint affairs.

   I am glad you share my views as to W. Laurie.15 I am much distressed by the advertisement he proposes to put forth. He has sent me a copy which I enclose here for you to see. Could there be anything more contemptibly unworthy of that play? It’s hardly worth while to touch such bosh. But I have just touched it. Perhaps you could give another touch. But I don’t want you to bother about it. The last line is just damned cheek. Will you answer W.  L.?

   As to a portrait, he could reproduce one of Arbuthnot’s photographs.16 There are eight negatives to select from.

   I know you will be pleased to hear that I have made a quick recovery and am getting on with the novel17 – if not exactly like a “house a-fire” – quite well enough to begin cheerfully the year under the new scheme of economy.

   In this connection, dear Eric, I understood that Miss Seale’s\ast salary for Dec. fell under the old scheme. As she has not had it I have paid it to her to-day; but, my dear fellow, I cannot spare it from my cash in hand. Would you send it to me? She leaves us in Jan. but whether she goes or stays she is eliminated as far as the office is concerned from this year’s expenditure, with B[orys] and K[arola] and half of Mrs G[eorge] together with other reductions.18 Don’t think me grasping, but my income is reduced this year by £1600, at least, while the conditions of living cannot be reduced as quickly as the expenditure must be.19 We are making efforts to find a tenant for Bell at the half-year or sooner.20 There are some prospects.

    I have thought of various things which it would take too long to write about. I would take it as very friendly of You if You would come down to see me any day before the 15 prox – let us say. Coming up to town unsettles me considerably and I want to absorb myself completely in the novel. It would ease my mind to see you. But of course I could come up if you couldn’t spare the time.

   B. came down last Sund. He has got a rise of £85 (100 less 15%) as from Jany 1st. He was notified not to make permanent arrangements to live in M[anche]ster, and instructed to get rid of his Surrey Scien[tif]ic Co shares as D’lair’s\ast employees are not supposed to be interested in undertakings of that kind (wireless).21 This, in conjunction with the knowledge he has of his name being on the Genl Manager’s list for special jobs, makes him think that he may be put on to the wireless-fitting dept for cars and ’planes of the company. Changes will take place in Febry, but whatever they are they cannot mean for him to be fired out.22 So far good, and I am relieved.

   Affect[ionate]ly yours

   J. Conrad

To Richard Curle

Text MS Indiana; Curle 108


   6.Jan 23

Dearest Dick.

   Many thanks for the cheque for £60 received to-day – the product of the pamphlet and a most welcome windfal[l] which I owe to your ingenious friendship.23 The hard times are beginning with a vengeance – but as long as I can go on with the novel I will not be dismayed. I wish I were feeling better in myself – but I am going on since the first so far unchecked.

   Jessie sends her love.

   I would be happy to hear some good news from You.

   Ever Yours

   J. Conrad

To Borys Conrad

Text MS Conrad; Unpublished


   14. Jan. 23.

Dearest Boy.24

    I send you my blessing and my loving wishes of every happiness for your birthday.25 I congratulate you also on this occasion on the position you have obtained by your own efforts and which I hope and believe you will preserve and improve by your work and abilities. I want you to know that I appreciate these traits of your character on which I found my confidence for the future when in the nature of things You will be left to take care of your Mother and guide and assist your brother.26 Whatever happens keep a warm corner in your heart for me, now and ever, in return for the love I bear You. Think tenderly of my shortcomings and believe in the constancy of my thoughts of You.

   Your father.

   J. C

To Eric S. Pinker

Text MS KSC; Unpublished

   [letterhead: Oswalds]


Dearest Eric.

   Herewith John’s school acct. He returns on Friday.27

   I expect to see Goodburn tomorrow and find out from him whether the transfer of John to King’s School would be a possible operation.28 If it is to be done it ought to be done with the least possible delay.

   Yrs affectly

   J. Conrad

   I send you an Am[erican] newsp[a]per cutting written by Morley.29 Please return.

To Aniela Zagórska

Text MS copy Yale;30 Najder 286



   My dear Aniela,31

   Thank you for your letter. I am overjoyed that your excellent interpretation of Almayer has met with such a great success among people whose opinion counts.

   I shall be writing to Mr. Żeromski, as soon as I have completed the third part of my long novel.32 As to the translation of “Wszystko i nic” by Mr. Żeromski,I find the idea of sending the manuscript to our Legation absurd!33 What have they been doing with the manuscript for a whole year? I must know all the details before I get involved. Perhaps they’ve sent the manuscript to various publishers? That would be fatal, because it’s obvious that it has been turned down. And going around with a rejected manuscript is a bad affair. I would try to place it somewhere if Mr. Żeromski would instruct our Legation to send me the manuscript with a little note.34 But I must warn you that the “magazines” do not print translations, and the more serious “reviews” do not accept novels or short stories. At present there is nothing here comparable to the Revue des deux Mondes or Revue de Paris.

   I must finish now since my hand hurts me. I shall write to you soon.

   I kiss you a thousand times and so does Jessie, and likewise John. In half an hour I am taking him to the station; he is returning to school.

   Your faithful


To Eric S. Pinker

Text MS KSC; Unpublished


   Sat. 20.1.23

Dearest Eric

   Thanks very much for your letter of two days ago. John left us on Friday. The King’s School (Canterbury) being full, with a long waiting list, the moving of John is out of question.

   I have only to hope for the best.

   I am hard at work. Miss H[allowes] has been laid up for 3 days.35 Bad luck.

   I quite agree with you as to the factual value of the press-cutting. The thing is decent in intention however; and, of course, the information could only have come from D[ouble]day.36

   Always affectly yrs

   J Conrad.

To Julian Street

Text MS Williams;37 Unpublished

   [letterhead: Oswalds]


© Cambridge University Press
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