Joseph Conrad

April 2007
64 black and white, 4 line illustrations
802 pages
9.25x6.13 in
ISBN: 9781571133472
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC BIO007000, LIT004130

Joseph Conrad

A Life

Zdzislaw Najder

Up-to-date and extensive revision of Najder's much-acclaimed scholarly biography of Conrad, employing newly accessible sources.
Joseph Conrad is not only one of the world's great writers of English -- and world -- literature, but was a writer who lived a particularly full and interesting life. For the biographer this is a double-edged sword, however: there are many periods for which documentation is uncommonly difficult. Zdzislaw Najder's meticulously documented biography first appeared in English in 1983, garnering high praise as the best, most complete biography of Conrad. Najder's command of English, French, Polish, and Russian allowed him access to a greater variety of sources than any other biographer, and his Polish background and his own experience as an exile have afforded him a unique affinity for Conrad and his milieu. All this has come into play once again in the present, extensively revised edition: much of its extensive new material was unearthed in newly-opened former east-bloc archives. There is new material on Conrad's father's genealogy and his role in Polish politics; Conrad's service in the French and British merchant marines; his early English reading and correspondence; his experiences in the Congo; the circumstances of writing his memoirs, and much more. In addition, several aspects of Conrad's life and works are more thoroughly analyzed: his problems with the English language; his borrowings from French writers; his attitude toward socialism, his reaction to the reception of his books.

Zdzislaw Najder teaches at the European Academy, Cracow.

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Table of Contents

In the Shadow of Alien Ghosts: 1857-1874 - Zdzislaw Najder
In Marseilles: 1874-1878 - Zdzislaw Najder
The Red Ensign: 1878-1886 - Zdzislaw Najder
Master in the British Merchant Marine: 1886-1890 - Zdzislaw Najder
To the End of the Night: 1890 - Zdzislaw Najder
The Sail and the Pen: 1891-1894 - Zdzislaw Najder
Work and Romance: 1894-1896 - Zdzislaw Najder
Strivings, Experiments, Doubts: 1896-1898 - Zdzislaw Najder
Ford, the Pent, and Jim: 1898-1900 - Zdzislaw Najder
Difficult Maturity: 1900-1904 - Zdzislaw Najder
Uphill: 1904-1909 - Zdzislaw Najder
Crisis and Success: 1910-1914 - Zdzislaw Najder
Journey to Poland: 1914 - Zdzislaw Najder
The War and the Memories: 1914-1919 - Zdzislaw Najder
Hope and Resignation: 1919-1924 - Zdzislaw Najder


The most scholarly, most comprehensive, as well as the most faithfully Conradian account of the writer's life . Especially with the publication of its new edition . unlikely to be surpassed for a long time to come. HUNGARIAN JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND AMERICAN STUDIES

A great achievement in revealing to us with honesty and compassion a writer of immense moral stature and untiring devotion to his art. POLISH REVIEW

The revisions ... further strengthen what was already the indispensable biography. They are extensive and substantial, incorporating not only Najder's own discoveries but those by such distinguished scholars as Andrew Busza, J. H. Stape, the late Sylvère Monod, and the late Hans van Marle. --Laurence Davies, University of Glasgow, General Editor of Conrad's Collected Letters

A heroic achievement. THE INDEPENDENT

A portrait of a remarkable human in his native milieu and the story of how he adapted to a very different environment. Najder's Conrad is a man of deep emotions under a mask of circumspection. [Builds] up a detailed portrait of Conrad using every scrap of available information. LITERARY REVIEW

A pleasure to read. This present edition is a fifth revision and the second published in English. [The author provides] material formerly unavailable. POLISH AMERICAN JOURNAL

When I reviewed the first English edition of this book in 1984, I called it "the richest and most persuasive portrait of Conrad we have had or will probably ever have." Happily, however, the author hasn't rested on his laurels. Once again, Professor Najder sets the very highest biographical standard. Everything that has come to light about Conrad during the past quarter-century is now seamlessly integrated into the revised text. Many facts are new, but Najder's perspective remains unchanged -- because, quite simply, he got it exactly right the first time. --Frederick Crews

Najder's book is a thoroughly updated and revised version of his Conrad biography of 1983...Najder's forte is not only Conrad's Polish background but Conrad's Polish perspective which describes and "translates" attitudes, mental states as well as cultural norms and values...unfamiliar to non-Polish readers. ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR ANGLISTIK UND AMERIKANISTIK