“The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.”
- Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish author who wrote in English, after settling in England. He was granted British nationality at age 28 in 1886. However, he always considered himself a Pole and resented being classed by some critics, such as his friend Edward Garnett and his enthusiastic admirer H.L. Mencken, with Russian novelists as a “Slavonic” writer.
Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, though he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties (and always with a marked Polish accent). He wrote stories and novels, often with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of an indifferent universe. He was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly non-English tragic sensibility into English literature.
While some of his works have a strain of romanticism, he is viewed as a precursor of modernist literature. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many authors, including D. H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Malcolm Lowry, William Golding, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Heller, Italo Calvino, Gabriel García Márquez, J. G. Ballard, John le Carré, V.S. Naipaul, Hunter S. Thompson, J.M. Coetzee and Salman Rushdie.
Films have been adapted from or inspired by Conrad’s Almayer’s Folly, An Outcast of the Islands, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, The Duel, Victory, The Shadow Line, and The Rover.
Writing in the heyday of the British Empire, Conrad drew on his native Poland’s national experiences and on his personal experiences in the French and British merchant navies, to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a European-dominated world, while also plumbing the depths of the human soul. Appreciated early on by literary cognoscenti, his fiction and nonfiction have gained an almost prophetic cachet in the light of subsequent national and international disasters of the 20th and 21st centuries. [wikipedia]