Conrad, Joseph

Joseph Conrad, 1857–1924, English novelist, b. Berdichev, Russia (now Berdychiv, Ukraine), originally named Jósef Teodor Konrad Walecz Korzeniowski. Born of Polish parents, he is considered one of the greatest novelists and prose stylists in English literature. In 1874, Conrad went to sea and later joined (1878) an English merchant ship, becoming (1884) a master mariner as well as a British citizen. Retiring from the merchant fleet in 1894, he began his career as a novelist, and all of his novels are written in English, an acquired language. His notable early works include The Nigger of the Narcissus (1897), Lord Jim (1900), and the novellas Youth (1902), Heart of Darkness (1902), and Typhoon (1903). The novels Nostromo (1904), The Secret Agent (1907), Under Western Eyes (1911), and Chance (1913) are regarded by many as Conrad's greatest works. Of his later works, Victory (1915) is the best known. He also collaborated on two novels with Ford Madox Ford, The Inheritors (1901) and Romance (1903). Marked by a distinctive, opulent prose style, Conrad's novels combine realism and high drama. Their settings include nautical backgrounds as well as high society, and international politics. Conrad was a skilled creator of atmosphere and character; the impact of various situations was augmented by his use of symbolism. He portrayed acutely the conflict between non-western cultures and modern civilization. His characters exhibit the possibilities for isolation and moral deterioration in modern life.

See his complete works (26 vol., 1924–26); L. Davies et al., ed., The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad (9 vol., 2008); biographies by J. Baines (1960), F. M. Ford (1965), N. Sherry (1973, repr. 1997), F. R. Karl (1979), J. Meyers (1991), and J. Batchelor (1993); studies by E. Said (1966), R. Curle (1968), J. A. Palmer (1968), B. Johnson (1971), N. Sherry (1971, 1980), I. Watt (1980), and M. Jasanoff (2017); bibliography by T. G. Ehrsam (1969).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Nostromo: Selected full-text books and articles

Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard By Joseph E. Conrad; Keith E. Carabine Oxford University Press, 1984
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Joseph Conrad's Nostromo By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1987
Librarian's tip: This is a book of literary criticism
A Century of Nostromo By Najder, Zdzislaw Conradiana, Vol. 40, No. 3, Fall 2008
Communities in Fiction By J. Hillis Miller Fordham University Press, 2015
A Joseph Conrad Companion By Leonard Orr; Ted Billy Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 8 "Nostromo (1904)"
Joseph Conrad, the Way of Dispossession By H. M. Daleski Holmes & Meier, 1977
Librarian's tip: Chap. Five "Nostromo"
Joseph Conrad and the Fictions of Skepticism By Mark A. Wollaeger Stanford University, 1990
Librarian's tip: Chap. Five "Nostromo and The Secret Agent: The Ethics of Form"
Conrad, Language, and Narrative By Michael Greaney Cambridge University Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Chap. Seven "Nostromo and Anecdotal History"
Conrad's Mythology By Robert Wilson Whitston, 1987
Librarian's tip: "Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard (1904)" begins on p. 68
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