Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)
Conrad's particular interest was the study of the moral values of man, who can change under extreme circumstances , falling into moral degradation, or regaining his honor and self-esteem through sacrifice and heroism. He was
considered a writer of the sea, but the sea, which he in all its aspects , in calm or stormy weather , was only the setting for his study of mans truth of mind and soul. Joseph Conrad , whose real name was Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, was born in Polish Ukraine in 1857. His father was a landowner, who had cultivated literature: as his country was then Russian rule, he participated in the movement for Polish independence , and was exiled with his family to Northern Russia.
Joseph's parents died when he was still a boy. He lived in Kiev and Cracow under the guardianship of his uncle, and, as he wanted to go to sea, went to Marseilles at the age of seventeen and sailed in a French ship to South America.
In 1878 he joined the English merchant navy, rising gradually from mariner to master. In 1886 he became a British subject, he served in the British merchant service , till 1894 mostly in Eastern waters, which he described in many works. In 1890 he sailed up to Congo river on the Steamboat Roi does Belges, and her he fond the inspiration foe his novel Heart of Darkness. He had in the meantime learned English and was fascinated by gge wealth of English vocabulary , by its innumerable idioms, by the force and color of its words, and by its musicality and flexibility. This was the language he a hose when he began writing in the in the long hours of calm weather in the Eastern seas. His life at sea, where a man is in complete isolation, suited his inner character ; he loved solitude , he liked to scrutinize the moral nature of man, particularly of those men who , while struggling against natural forces and inner impulses, achieve moral heroism or fall into more degradation. He left the sea in 1894 and devoted himself to writing . He achieved success with his novels and short stories, but wrote with great difficulty using a language which was not his mother-tongue, exploiting all its great wealth and variety , trying to express subtleties of atmosphere, and the puzzling mutability of the human heart. He died at Bishopbourne , in Lent, in 1924.