Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad

Excerpt

There are many still living who knew Joseph Conrad. Among them, some have recorded impressions of his personality and achievement in books which are invaluable, for no writer had stauncher friends or more discriminating admirers. Above all, in M. Jean-Aubry he had a delightful biographer; a French writer with an affectionate understanding and a clear style. To the two volumes of his Life and Letters any further general work on Conrad is certain to be indebted: there could be no honourable exception.

In acknowledging the obligation necessarily incurred to many forerunners, the point perhaps needs making that the difference in mental climate between 1924, the year in which Conrad died, and the present is far greater than the actual span of time could suggest. It is the true justification for a new survey of the whole of his published work. No two critics will ever quite agree about a writer of consequence--except perhaps in one respect, the pleasure that he gives; and even that will differ, in kind and in degree. But it is important common ground. Walter Sickert indeed said that, in his view, 'pleasure, and pleasure alone, is the proper purpose of art'. The reader of Conrad who does not largely concur will probably have laid his work down at an early stage. It is not the whole story, but it is a vital part of it, and it is possibly best amplified by a quotation from the Author's Note to later editions of The Nigger of the 'Narcissus'.

'The changing wisdom of successive generations', says . . .

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