Joseph Conrad: Three Novels: Heart of Darkness, The Secret Agent and The Shadow Line

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However, this is subject to debate, given that a great deal of his work focuses on exposing inhumane behaviour and its consequences. In , aged 36, Conrad reluctantly gave up the sea, partly because of poor health and partly because he had become so fascinated with writing that he decided on a literary career.

His first novel, Almayer's Folly , set on the east coast of Borneo , was published in Its appearance marked his first use of the pen name "Joseph Conrad"; "Konrad" was, of course, the third of his Polish given names , but his use of it — in the anglicised version, "Conrad" — may also have been an homage to the Polish Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz 's patriotic narrative poem, Konrad Wallenrod.

Almayer's Folly , together with its successor, An Outcast of the Islands , laid the foundation for Conrad's reputation as a romantic teller of exotic tales — a misunderstanding of his purpose that was to frustrate him for the rest of his career. Except for several vacations in France and Italy, a vacation in his native Poland, and a visit to the United States in , Conrad lived out the rest of his life in England.


Though his talent was recognised by the English intellectual elite, popular success eluded him until the publication of Chance —paradoxically so, as that novel is not now regarded as one of his better ones. Thereafter, for the remaining years of his life, Conrad was the subject of more discussion and praise than any other English writer of the time. He enjoyed increasing wealth and status. Conrad had a true genius for companionship, and his circle of friends included talented authors such as Stephen Crane and Henry James. In the early s he composed a short series of novels in collaboration with Ford Madox Ford.

Joseph Conrad: Three Novels

Shortly after, on 3 August , Conrad died [15] of a heart attack. Conrad, an emotional man subject to fits of depression, self-doubt, and pessimism, disciplined his romantic temperament with an unsparing moral judgment.

The Secret Agent - Audiobook

As an artist, he famously aspired, in his preface to The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' , "by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel That — and no more, and it is everything. If I succeed, you shall find there according to your deserts: encouragement, consolation, fear, charm — all you demand — and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.

Writing in what to the visual arts was the age of Impressionism , Conrad showed himself in many of his works a prose poet of the highest order. For instance, in the evocative Patna and courtroom scenes of Lord Jim ; in the "melancholy-mad elephant" and gunboat scenes of Heart of Darkness ; in the doubled protagonists of The Secret Sharer ; and in the verbal and conceptual resonances of Nostromo and The Nigger of the 'Narcissus'. The singularity of the universe depicted in Conrad's novels, especially compared to those of near-contemporaries like John Galsworthy , is such as to open him to criticism similar to that later applied to Graham Greene.

Often he chose to have his characters play out their destinies in isolated or confined circumstances. In the view of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis , it was not until the first volumes of Anthony Powell 's sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time , were published in the s, that an English novelist achieved the same command of atmosphere and precision of language with consistency, a view supported by present-day critics like A. This is the more remarkable, given that English was Conrad's third language.

The Shadow-Line

Powell acknowledged his debt to Conrad. Conrad's third language remained inescapably under the influence of his first two — Polish and French.

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This makes his English seem unusual. It was perhaps from Polish and French prose styles that he adopted a fondness for triple parallelism , especially in his early works "all that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men" , as well as for rhetorical abstraction "It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention". Lawrence , one of many writers whom Conrad befriended, offered some perceptive observations about Conrad's writing:. In Conrad's time, literary critics, while usually commenting favourably on his works, often remarked that his exotic style, complex narration, profound themes and pessimistic ideas put many readers off.

Yet as Conrad's ideas were borne out by 20th-century events, in due course he came to be admired for beliefs that seemed to accord with subsequent times more closely than with his own.

The Shadow Line - Wikipedia

Conrad wrote:. Conrad is the novelist of man in extreme situations. It rests, notably, among others, on the idea of Fidelity. For Conrad fidelity is the barrier man erects against nothingness, against corruption, against the evil that is all about him, insidious, waiting to engulf him, and that in some sense is within him unacknowledged. But what happens when fidelity is submerged, the barrier broken down, and the evil without is acknowledged by the evil within?

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At his greatest, that is Conrad's theme. Conrad claimed that he "never kept a diary and never owned a notebook". John Galsworthy, who knew him well, described this as "a statement which surprised no one who knew the resources of his memory and the brooding nature of his creative spirit. Achebe's view was that Heart of Darkness cannot be considered a great work of art because it is "a novel which celebrates According to some critics, Achebe fails to distinguish Marlow's view from Conrad's, which results in very clumsy interpretations of the novella. Ending a passage that describes the condition of chained, emaciated slave workers, the novelist remarks: "After all, I also was a part of the great cause of these high and just proceedings.

Conrad scholar Peter Firchow points out that "nowhere in the novel does Conrad or any of his narrators, personified or otherwise, claim superiority on the part of Europeans on the grounds of alleged genetic or biological difference".

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If Conrad or his novel is racist, Firchow argues, it is only in a weak sense, since Heart of Darkness acknowledges racial distinctions "but does not suggest an essential superiority" of any particular group. Of Conrad's novels, Lord Jim and Nostromo continue to be widely read, as set texts and for pleasure. Breakout star Erin Moriarty of " The Boys " shouts out her real-life super squad of actors.

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Joseph Conrad: Three Novels

Up 32, this week. His father was a political activist and he and his family were exiled after he was suspected of involvement with revolutionary activities. Conrad had no friends as a child and rarely associated with boys or girls. His mother Filmography by Job Trailers and Videos. Share this page:. Not your average Joe. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed.

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