Joseph Conrad: A Life

Overview

Joseph Conrad is not only one of the world's great writers of English — and world — literature, but was a writer who lived a particularly full and interesting life. For the biographer this is a double-edged sword, however: there are many periods for which documentation is uncommonly difficult. Zdzislaw Najder's meticulously documented biography first appeared in English in 1983, garnering high praise as the best, most complete biography of Conrad. Najder's command of English, French, Polish, and Russian allowed ...

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Overview

Joseph Conrad is not only one of the world's great writers of English — and world — literature, but was a writer who lived a particularly full and interesting life. For the biographer this is a double-edged sword, however: there are many periods for which documentation is uncommonly difficult. Zdzislaw Najder's meticulously documented biography first appeared in English in 1983, garnering high praise as the best, most complete biography of Conrad. Najder's command of English, French, Polish, and Russian allowed him access to a greater variety of sources than any other biographer, and his Polish background and his own experience as an exile have afforded him a unique affinity for Conrad and his milieu. All this has come into play once again in the present, extensively revised edition: much of its extensive new material was unearthed in newly-opened former east-bloc archives. There is new material on Conrad's father's genealogy and his role in Polish politics; Conrad's service in the French and British merchant marines; his early English reading and correspondence; his experiences in the Congo; the circumstances of writing his memoirs, and much more. In addition, several aspects of Conrad's life and works are more thoroughly analyzed: his problems with the English language; his borrowings from French writers; his attitude toward socialism, his reaction to the reception of his books. Zdzislaw Najder teaches at the European Academy, Cracow.

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