Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyTo his distinguished biogrpahies of Hemingway, Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence and others, Meyers now adds a study of the elusive author of Nostromo and Victor , and he comes up with all sorts of little-known or unpublished material. Meyers provides new insights into Conrad's troubled Polish childhood, his harsh 20 years as a seaman, his rash involvement in the Carlist wars, his marriage to a placid woman who was the perfect foil to his neurasthenic personality and his friendships with the likes of Madox Ford, Galsworthy, Stephen Crane and Henry James. In his role as passionate literary detective, Meyers finds real-life sources of lead characters in Heart of Darkness, Under Western Eyes and The Arrow of Gold (about the tempestuous American journalist, Jane Anderson, with whom Conrad had an affair). The author gives us a clear perspective on both the life (1857-1924) and achievements of a writer who, racked by gout, guilt and debt most of his life (his novels were more often praised than read), mastered a foreign language in middle age to become one of its greatest craftsmen. Photos. (Apr.)
Library JournalThe prolific Meyers ( D.H. Lawrence, LJ 5/15/90) here offers the first major biography of Conrad since Frederick R. Karl's Joseph Conrad: The Three Lives ( LJ 12/1/78). Karl excels with the early years, Meyers with the later. Extensive research, both anecdotal and archival, has resulted in a wealth of new information on Conrad's seafaring career (including sample questions from the Master's exam), his marriage, his friendship with Ford--even on the real-life model for Kurtz. Possibly of most interest is extensive coverage of Conrad's affair with the wild and eccentric American journalist Jane Anderson, with an appendix dealing with Anderson's unusual life. Meyers always has an eye to how life experience colors the fiction, but not to the extent that the book will be accessible only to Conradians. This is highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/90.-- Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.
- Cengage Gale
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