The Mirror of Conrad

The Mirror of Conrad

The Mirror of Conrad

The Mirror of Conrad

Excerpt

The popularity of a great writer during his lifetime does not, as a rule, last after him, but declines rapidly. At length it returns, slowly; in a modified form. Such a phenomenon is evident in the case of Joseph Conrad--the most remarkable, if not the very greatest, of those great writers who lived and died and were forgotten in recent times--and the cycle is near completion.

At least, it would appear so 'by all concurrence of signs'; second-hand bookshops are being ransacked for copies of Conrad's works; his novels are being rendered on the radio and the screen; his name comes up in the press with increasing frequency.

I was hopeful enough to attempt the present work. I little thought, although it should have been obvious, that Conrad required 'sea-room'; a single volume was not enough. It then transpired (in this appropriately marine way of regarding the matter) that there were such contrivances as 'water-tight' compartments; there could be two volumes--each 'water-tight', entire, adjacent, and interdependent.

This was a capital idea, since Conrad's own life was actually divided in that way, and almost amidships, as it were: half on the sea, half on the land; half as a sailor, half as a writer, and (what was especially convenient) these periods were both complete in themselves and complemental. Best of all, these divisions in entirety, and entireties in division, were requisite to, and yet, at the same time, independent of each other, since Conrad's earlier life was alone adequate to a biography, while his . . .

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