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Last Essays

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Overview

Bringing together work composed from 1890 to 1924, the nineteen pieces collected in the posthumously published Last Essays (1926) serve as a primer to Conrad's wide interests and to the varieties of his style. This edition, supported by an extensive textual apparatus, brings together various prose pieces, including reminiscences, reviews, essays on the sea and politics, as well as several miscellaneous items, including his ‘Congo Diary' and the other notebook he kept in Africa in 1890. The introduction situates these writings in Conrad's career, offers new perspectives on Conrad in the marketplace and as a writer of occasional prose and traces the contemporary reception of the volume. The notes explain literary and historical references, identify real-life places and indicate Conrad's main sources. Early drafts and notes for several essays are published here for the first time, making this authoritative critical edition a major contribution to Conrad studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Throughout, Last Essays displays the rigours of the editors’ art, with a detailed introduction, informative textual essa y, illustrations, explanatory notes, maps, and an apparatus to rival those so far produced in the Cambridge edition."
-Richard Niland, English Literature in Transition 1880-1920
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Harold Ray Stevens is Professor Emeritus of English at McDaniel College.

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 and is co-editor of Conrad's collected letters (Volumes 7 and 9). He has also published on E. M. Forster, William Golding, Thomas Hardy, Frank Harris, Angus Wilson and Virginia Woolf.

Biography

Joseph Conrad (originally Józef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. His parents, ardent Polish patriots, died when he was a child, following their exile for anti-Russian activities, and he came under the protection of his tradition-conscious uncle, Thaddeus Bobrowski, who watched over him for the next twenty-five years. In 1874 Bobrowski conceded to his nephew's passionate desire to go to sea, and Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice.

In 1886 he obtained British nationality and his Master's certificate in the British Merchant Service. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he married Jessie George and eventually settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes. He continued to write until his death in 1924. Today Conrad is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of fiction in English -- his third language. He once described himself as being concerned "with the ideal value of things, events and people" in the Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus he defined his task as "by the power of the written word ... before all, to make you see."

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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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

Preface; Chronology; Abbreviations and note on editions; Introduction; Last Essays: Geography and Some Explorers; The Torrens: A Personal Tribute; Christmas-Day At Sea; Ocean Travel; Outside Literature; Legends; The Unlighted Coast; The Dover Patrol; Memorandum; The Loss of the Dalgonar; Travel: Preface to Richard Curle's 'Into the East'; Stephen Crane: Introduction to Thomas Beer's 'Stephen Crane: A Study in American Letters'; His War-book: Introduction to Stephen Crane's 'The Red Badge of Courage'; John Galsworthy: an appreciation; A Glance at Two Books; Preface to 'The Shorter Tales of Joseph Conrad'; Cookery: Preface to Jessie Conrad's 'A Handbook of Cookery for a Small House'; The Future of Constantinople; The Congo notebooks: The Congo Diary; Up-River Book; Uncollected essays: The Silence of the Sea; Author's Note to 'Youth' and 'Gaspar Ruiz'; Introductory note to 'A Hugh Walpole Anthology'; Foreword to 'Landscapes of Corsica and Ireland' by A. S. Kinkead; Foreword to 'Britain's Life-boats: The Story of a Century of Heroic Service' by A. J. Dawson; Appendices: A. Richard Curle's introductions to Last Essays and 'The Congo Diary'; B. The Dalgonar incident: the London Mercury texts; C. Preface to The Shorter Tales of Joseph Conrad: two rejected drafts; D. Note on the Torrens and Notes for 'Travel'; 'Geography': Ur-version of 'Geography and Some Explorers'; The texts: an essay; Apparatus; Textual notes; Glossary of nautical terms; Notes.

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