A Joseph Conrad Companion
Best known as the author of Heart of Darkness (1899), Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) is one of the most widely taught writers in English. His mastery of the English language is especially notable, for he was born in a Ukrainian area of Poland under Czarist Russian rule and began a sea career in France. He joined the British merchant fleet, and his travels took him to European imperial outposts throughout Asia, South America, and Africa. To pass the monotonous time on land between journeys, he began to write fiction in English. Never quite at home anywhere, he spoke a thickly accented mix of English, Polish, and French. He sometimes posed as a flirtatious Frenchman, a fallen Polish nobleman, and an English country squire and man of letters. Like many writers, his works reflect his experiences. Interest in his writings has become especially strong, in light of their relationship to marginality and postcolonialism.
As a reference book, this volume is a comprehensive guide to Conrad's troubled life and enduring literary legacy. An opening biographical chapter tells the story of his difficulties, adventures, and achievements. It also summarizes the current state of biographical research on Conrad and provides a useful context for approaching his works. The chapter that follows builds on the biography by discussing the importance of Conrad's letters to our understanding of his life and writings. Additional chapters examine each of his major works, while others address clusters of his later novels, his short fiction, and his essays and memoirs. Each chapter is written by an expert contributor and offers a combination of summary and original scholarship. Thus the volume provides important biographical, bibliographical, and contextual information to those readers new to Conrad, while it simultaneously gives experienced readers a wealth of fresh critical perspectives.
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Almayers Folly 1895 and An Outcast of the Islands 1896
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