FOCUS ON: Conrad, Joseph
Joseph Conrad is considered to be among the greatest English writer of the last century.
Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski (Joseph Conrad) was born on December 3 1857 in Berdicow, in what was then Russian-occupied Poland. His father, a poet was sentenced to exile in 1862 for writing subversive literature. Conrad and his family followed him.
His mother, Evelina (Bobrowski) Korzeniowski died of tuberculosis in Russia in 1865.
Three years later, after 6 years in northern Siberia Conrad and his father are allowed to return to Poland. His father died soon thereafter and his uncle and grandmother became his guardian.
At the age of 16, Conrad becomes a seaman trainee and leaves his native Poland for Marseilles France. In 1886 he becomes a British citizen and has already traveled extensively around the world.
He begins writing his first novel Almayer's Folly in 1889 and weds Jessie George. Together they will raise two sons.
A trip to the Congo the same year where he witnesses the greed of the colonialists has a profound impact on his character and greatly influences his future works.
In 1894 he leaves the British Merchant Service to pursue his writing career and by 1914 his reputation as a writer is well made.
In 1924 he declines a knighthood and dies a short time later of a heart attack at Bishopsbourne, near Canterbury, England.
In all he wrote 29 books, including nearly 25 novels and collections of short stories and novellas, and 5 nonfiction works.