photo credits: Wikimedia Commons
movement: modernist literature
country of citizenship: Russian Empire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom, Second Polish Republic
languages spoken, written or signed: English, Polish
occupation: writer, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, science fiction writer, autobiographer
Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, Polish: [ˈjuzɛf tɛˈɔdɔr ˈkɔnrat kɔʐɛˈɲɔfskʲi] (listen); 3 December 1857 – 3 August 1924) was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he came to be regarded a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature. Conrad wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of what he saw as an impassive, inscrutable universe.Conrad is considered a literary impressionist by some and an early modernist by others, though his works also contain elements of 19th-century realism. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters, as in Lord Jim, for example, have influenced numerous authors. Many dramatic films have been adapted from, or inspired by, his works. Numerous writers and critics have commented that Conrad's fictional works, written largely in the first two decades of the 20th century, seem to have anticipated later world events.Writing near the peak of the British Empire, Conrad drew on the national experiences of his native Poland – during nearly all his life, parceled out among three occupying empires – and on his own experiences in the French and British merchant navies, to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a European-dominated world – including imperialism and colonialism – and that profoundly explore the human psyche. Postcolonial analysis of Conrad's work has incited considerable debate; author Chinua Achebe published an article denouncing Heart of Darkness for being racist and dehumanising, while other scholars such as Adam Hochschild and Peter Edgerly Firchow have disagreed with Achebe's conclusions.
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