Joseph Conrad

 

Joseph Conrad (1857 –1924) was a Polish novelist. Many critics regard him as one of the greatest novelists in the English language—a fact that is remarkable as he did not learn to speak English fluently until he was in his twenties (and always with a Polish accent).

Conrad is recognized as a master prose stylist. Some of his works have a strain of romanticism, but more importantly he is recognized as an important forerunner of modernist literature. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many writers.

Conrad's novels and stories have also inspired such films as Sabotage (1936, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, adapted from Conrad's The Secret Agent); Apocalypse Now (1979, adapted from Conrad's Heart of Darkness); The Duellists (a 1977 Ridley Scott adaptation of Conrad's The Duel, from A Set of Six); and a 1996 film inspired by The Secret Agent, starring Bob Hoskins, Patricia Arquette and Gérard Depardieu. 

Writing during the apex of the ritish Empire, Conrad drew upon his experiences serving in the French and later the British Merchant Navy to create novels and short stories that reflected aspects of a world-wide empire while also plumbing the depths of the human soul. Conrad became a naturalized British citizen in 1886.

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From LibriVox:

1.  The Point of Honor - Set during the Napoleonic Wars, “The Point of Honor” (English title: “The Duel”) features two French Hussar officers, D’Hubert and Feraud. Their quarrel over an initially minor incident turns into a bitter, long-drawn out struggle over the following fifteen years, interwoven with the larger conflict that provides its backdrop. 

2.  The Heart of Darkness - Set in a time of oppressive colonisation, when large areas of the world were still unknown to Europe, and Africa was literally on maps and minds as a mysterious shadow, Heart of Darkness famously explores the rituals of civilisation and barbarism, and the frighteningly fine line between them.
3.  Lord Jim - A classic of early literary modernism, Lord Jim tells the story of a young “simple and sensitive character” who loses his honor in a display of cowardice at sea — and of his expiation of that sin against his own “shadowy ideal of conduct” on the remote island of Patusan. 
4.  The Mirror of the Sea - The Mirror of the Sea is a collection of autobiographical essays first published in various magazines 1904-6.  Conrad early in his life earned his bread as a Master Mariner in sailing ships. 
    5.  The Secret Agent - A dark, and darkly comic story of a band of spies, anarchists, agents-provocateurs plotting and counter-plotting in the back streets of London in the early 20th Century. 
    6.  Typhoon - A classic sea yarn that describes how Captain Macwhirr sails the Siamese steamer Nan-Shan into a typhoon.
      7.  Youth, a Narrative (An autobiographical short story)
      8.  Amy Foster A Classic shortish story by Conrad that relates his self-thought alienation from British society, as a young foreign man survives a shipwreck off the coast of Kent, England only to be shunned by most of the townsfolk. The one exception is the loving, if dull-witted, Miss Foster
      9.  Tales of Unrest - The first collection of short stories by Joseph Conrad published in his lifetime.  Contains: Karain - A Memory, The Idiots, An Outpost of Progress, The Return, The Lagoon
      10.  Nostromo - Nostromo is what would today be called a shameless self-publicist. He is believed by Señor Gould to be incorruptible, and for this reason is entrusted with hiding the silver from the revolutionaries. He accepts the mission not out of loyalty to Señor Gould, but rather because he sees an opportunity to increase his own fame. 

      11.  The Secret Sharer - A young untested ship captain finds a man named Leggatt clinging to the side of his ship. The Captain makes the unusual decision to hide Leggatt in his quarters. What is he thinking? Conrad will tell us. - The Secret Sharer was first published in the August and September 1910 issues of Harper’s Magazine 


      12.  The Nigger of the Narcissus - This is the story of a voyage of a merchant sailing ship from Bombay to England, set in the very late 19th century. “It was a bad winter off the Cape that year.” “The novel is seen as an allegory about isolation and solidarity, the ship’s company serving as a microcosm of a social group.” 

      13.  
      Recollections of the life of Axel Heyst, one-time manager of the liquidated Tropical Belt Coal Company in a fictitious island in the Pacific. After retreating from society in response to his professional failures, the misanthrope is drawn back by a romantic affair. 

      14.  
      The Idiots -(6th story in Short Story Collection # 47)

      15.  One Day More - A one-act play. Eccentric Captain Hagberd has been waiting for years for his son to come home from the sea. He has scrimped and saved, outfitting a house for Harry to inherit upon his return, which will be in only "one day more."

      16.  Chance -  This is a two part story about a Damsel and a Knight, perhaps a damsel who depends upon the kindness of strangers. It was originally entitled "Dynamite" and first published by installments in the New York Herald. 

      17.  An Outcast of the Islands - This is the second novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1896, inspired by Conrad's experience as mate of a steamer, the Vigar. The novel details the undoing of Peter Willems, a disreputable, immoral man who, on the run from a scandal in Makassar, finds refuge in a hidden native village, only to betray his benefactors over lust for the tribal chief's daughter. This novel was adapted for the screen in 1952 by director Carol Reed, featuring Trevor Howard as Willems, Ralph Richardson as Lingard, Robert Morley, and Wendy Hiller.

      18.  Almayer’s Folly  - Almayer’s Folly is about a poor businessman who dreams of finding a hidden gold mine and becoming very wealthy. Kaspar Almayer is a white European. He agrees to marry a native Malayan captured by Captain Tom Lingard, his employer, believing the marriage will bring him riches even though he has no love for the woman. They have one daughter named Nina. Almayer relocates with his wife to Malaysia where he hopes to build a trading company and find gold mines. His hopeless daydreams of riches and splendor cause his native wife to loath him.

      19.  Under Western Eyes - The novel written in 1911 takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Geneva, Switzerland, and is viewed as Conrad's response to the themes explored in Crime and Punishment, Conrad being reputed to have detested Dostoevsky. It is also, some say, Conrad's response to his own early life; his father was a famous revolutionary imprisoned by the Russians, but, instead of following in his father's footsteps, at the age of sixteen Conrad left his native land forever...

      20.  The Shadow-Line - Dedicated to the author's son who was wounded in World War 1, The Shadow-Line is a short novel based at sea by Joseph Conrad; it is one of his later works, being written from February to December 1915. It was first published in 1916 as a serial and in book form in 1917. The novella depicts the development of a young man upon taking a captaincy in the Orient, with the shadow line of the title representing the threshold of this development. The novella is notable for its dual narrative structure. The full, subtitled title of the novel is The Shadow-Line, A Confession, which immediately alerts the reader to the retrospective nature of the novella.

      21.  Joseph Conrad  Biography by Hugh Walpole - This is a literary biography of Joseph Conrad (1857 – 1924) who is regarded as one of the greatest novelists in English. He was granted British nationality in 1886, but always considered himself a Pole. Though he did not speak English fluently until he was in his twenties (and always with a marked accent), he was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly non-English sensibility into English literature. He wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit. 
      Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole, CBE (1884 – 1941) was an English novelist. He was the son of an Anglican clergyman, intended for a career in the church but drawn instead to writing. Among those who encouraged him were the authors Henry James and Arnold Bennett. His skill at scene-setting, vivid plots, and high profile as a lecturer brought him a large readership in the United Kingdom and North America. He was a best-selling author in the 1920s and 1930s, but has been largely neglected since his death.... Joseph Conrad said of him, "We see Mr. Walpole grappling with the truth of things spiritual and material with his characteristic earnestness, and we can discern the characteristics of this acute and sympathetic explorer of human nature."

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      From Archive.Org:

       1.  The Inheritors: An Extravagant Story (1901) -  Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox:

      A quasi-science fiction novel on which Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad collaborated. It looks at society's mental evolution and what is gained and lost in the process. Written before the first World War, its themes of corruption and the effect of the 20th Century on British aristocracy appeared to predict history.  In the novel, the metaphor of the "fourth dimension" is used to explain a societal shift from a generation of people who have traditional values of interdependence, being overtaken by a modern generation who believe in expediency, callously using political power to bring down the old order. Its narrator is an aspiring writer who himself makes a similar transition at a personal level only to feel he has lost everything.

       2.  The Brute:

      "There are ships difficult to handle, but generally you can depend on them behaving rationally. With that ship, whatever you did with her you never knew how it would end. She was a wicked beast. Or, perhaps, she was only just insane."

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