Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography

Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography

Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography

Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography

Excerpt

APOLLO AND EVELINA NAŁĘCZ KORZENIOWSKI had been married for eighteen months when, on 3 December 1857, their first and only child was born. He was christened Józef Teodor after his respective grandfathers and Konrad presumably after the hero of Mickiewicz's epic patriotic poem, Konrad Wallenrod . And he was a Nałęcz Korzeniowski, Nałęcz being the heraldic name of the family coat-of-arms.

There had been strong and protracted opposition to the marriage from Evelina's parents, the Bobrowskis, for although the Korzeniowskis were an old and respected family of landed gentry the Bobrowskis justifiably feared an unreliable strain in them. We owe most of our knowledge of the character of the two families to Evelina's brother Thaddeus, who, after the death of Conrad's parents, was to become his self-appointed guardian. Thaddeus's picture of the Korzeniowskis is doubtless biased, because he was temperamentally the antithesis of all that they seemed to represent; but he was also a very fair-minded man. He seems to have had the mentality of a genial family lawyer; to have been a kind, sympathetic, indulgent but cautious, precise, and practical man with a touch of complacency and self-righteousness.

He caustically describes Apollo's father, Theodor, as a brave if narrow-minded soldier who was firmly convinced that he was 'the first warrior in Europe, an excellent estate administrator, and a man whose services to the country were unequalled; but, in point of fact, he was nothing but a utopian'. In support of this Thaddeus says that Theodor was so incompetent that he lost the estate and village given as his wife's dowry together with 'the rest of their money in his mismanagement of the Korytna estate'. Thaddeus also says that 'he considered himself a great politician and a supreme patriot; without listening to common sense he was always ready to saddle a horse and chase the enemy out of the country'. Conrad has added to . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.