A Personal Record and A Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad
(Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)

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Joseph Conrad is a largely enigmatic presence in his novels, but in A Personal Record he decided to introduce his readers to "the figure behind the veil". Almost equally revealing is The Mirror of the Sea, written in "tribute to the sea, its ships, and its men, to whom I remain indebted for so much which has gone to make me what I am". Both are full of Conrad's anecdotes and adventures about smuggling arms to Don Carlos, a claimant to the Spanish throne, and characters like the great-uncle who once had to eat a Lithuanian dog during Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. They also let us see inside the young man who broke with his Polish background and was deeply inspired by the resilience and devotion to duty of his fellow British sailors. Every page is filled with a powerful moral intelligence and sense of history.

About Joseph Conrad

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Joseph Conrad is recognized as one of the 20th century's greatest English language novelists. He was born Jozef Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857, in the Polish Ukraine. His father, a writer and translator, was from Polish nobility, but political activity against Russian oppression led to his exile. Conrad was orphaned at a young age and subsequently raised by his uncle. At 17 he went to sea, an experience that shaped the bleak view of human nature which he expressed in his fiction. In such works as Lord Jim (1900), Youth (1902), and Nostromo (1904), Conrad depicts individuals thrust by circumstances beyond their control into moral and emotional dilemmas. His novel Heart of Darkness (1902), perhaps his best known and most influential work, narrates a literal journey to the center of the African jungle. This novel inspired the acclaimed motion picture Apocalypse Now. After the publication of his first novel, Almayer's Folly (1895), Conrad gave up the sea. He produced thirteen novels, two volumes of memoirs, and twenty-eight short stories. He died on August 3, 1924, in England. Mara Kalnins is Fellow in English at Corpus Christi College and Staff Tutor in Literature at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education. She has written and edited several books on D. H. Lawrence and i the General Editor of the works of Joseph Conrad in OWC.
Published January 12, 1989 by Oxford University Press. 216 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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