Conrad was born in Polish in 1857. His father was a landowner, he partecipated in the moviment for Polish indipendence and was exiled with his family to Northern Russia. Joseph parents died when he was still a boy. He lived in kiev under the guardianship of his uncle. He wonted to go by sea and went to Marseilles at 17 years old and sailed in a French ship to South America. He rising gradually from mariner to master. He became a British subject for 20 years and then he sailed up the Congo river and here he found the ispiration for his novel Heart of Darkness. He learned English and was fascinated by English vocabulary and by its musicality and flexibility. He love solitude, he like to scrutinized the moral nature of man. He left the sea in 1894 and devoted himself to writing but he found it very difficult to write in a language that was not his mother tongue. He died at Bishopbourne, in Kent, in 1924.

Conrad’s most important works are:
• Almayer’s Folly
• The Nigger of the Narcissus (about a sick m”black sailor”, who is dying of tubercolosis and whose presence on board the ship affects the dreamthoughts and behaviour of the crew)
• Youth
• Heart of Darkness (a short novel about an invory trader in the Congo, the heart of Africa
• Lord Jim
• Nostromo
• The secret Agent
• Chance
• The Shadow-Line
He decided to write in English but had problems with his rhetorical style, his fondness for high-flown words and images and his long sentences.
The principal features and themes of his works are:
 A search for the real truth of man’s existence: every man reveals his inner self only after the impact of unforseen
 Love for the sea and exotic places: the sea is a character in itself, but here it have also a function of isolating the leading character from the society of man
 Use of simbolism: the sea, the jungle, all natural elements are real in themselves but at the same time they are symbols of the thought and emotions of man
 Oblique narrative: the tale-within-a-tale technique, whereby”the inner narrative is presented in the words of a fictional narrator
 The traditional time-sequence is often manipulated: Conrad goes back and forth through time, tracing thought and memories.
 The presence of a “double”: someone who is the alter ego of the protagonist and represents the hidden side of the hero’s personality.

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