Joseph Conrad

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); 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); L. Davies et al., ed., The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad (9 vol., 2008); studies by E. Said (1966), R. Curle (1968), J. A. Palmer (1968), B. Johnson (1971), N. Sherry (1971, 1980), and I. Watt (1980); bibliography by T. G. Ehrsam (1969).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Joseph Conrad: Selected full-text books and articles

Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography By Jocelyn Baines Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1960
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1987
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of literary criticism
Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1987
CliffsNotes on Conrad's Lord Jim By James L. Roberts Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1962
A Joseph Conrad Companion By Leonard Orr; Ted Billy Greenwood Press, 1999
Essays on Conrad By Ian Watt Cambridge University Press, 2000
Rereading Conrad By Daniel R. Schwarz University of Missouri Press, 2001
Joseph Conrad By Oliver Warner Longmans, Green, 1951 (Revised edition)
Marlow By Harold Bloom Chelsea House, 1992
Librarian’s tip: This is about the character Charles Marlow who appears in several of Conrad's works including Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness, and Youth
Lord Jim: A Tale By Joseph Conrad; John Batchelor Oxford University Press, 1983
Conrad the Novelist By Albert J. Guerard Harvard University Press, 1958
Conrad and Women By Susan Jones Clarendon Press, 1999
Conrad and Impressionism By John G. Peters Cambridge University Press, 2001
The Inheritors: An Extravagant Story By Joseph Conrad; Ford Madox Ford University of Liverpool Press, 1999
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