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Biography of Joseph Conrad

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Olaya Sibello

on 17 May 2017

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Transcript of Biography of Joseph Conrad

Biography of Joseph Conrad
Childhood: 1850s
Birth of Joseph Conrad
[Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski]
Childhood: 1860s
Young Adulthood: 1870s
Young Adulthood-1870s
Conrad went to England for the first time and he worked as a seaman on English ships. He suffered from depression, but researchers are unsure as to why-- some stipulate that he was depressed because he had gambling debts and others reason that it was due to the fact that he was not allowed to work on any French ships because he would lie about having the right permits.

Conrad began his career as an officer in the British Merchant service--he traveled to Australia, India, Singapore, Java, and Borneo.
He became a British Citizen and changed his name to Joseph Conrad to avoid military service for Russia
Conrad received his first command of the
, a ship in
whose captain had died.

Conrad traveled to the Belgian Congo, Zaire, and Africa. This inspired "Heart of Darkness", a novel that focuses on the darkness of human nature.
He sailed a steamboat up the Congo River in central Africa because he needed money, and it also seemed like an adventure.
Retired from the merchant marines.
: Married Jessie George--an Englishwoman.
Joseph and Jessie settled in Kent, England.


Apollo Korzeniowski ; a member of
Conrad was born in
Berdychiv, Ukraine
and raised in
His parents were members of the noble class, and were Polish nationalists who conspired against Russian rule for Polish independence.

1861 and 1862:
Apollo was arrested and exiled along with his family to
, a town in
Evelina died of tuberculosis.
Joseph Conrad attended high school in Austrian province of
Lemberg, Galicia
for one year.
Apollo died, and custody of Conrad was given to his uncle Thaddeus Bobrowski; they moved to Krakow, Poland. Conrad often suffered from lung inflammations and epileptic seizures.
Throughout his childhood, Conrad had an immense passion for reading. His favourite author was Captain Frederick Marryat.
Conrad saw the sea for the first time in Western Europe.
Conrad went to Marseilles, France and entered the French Merchant Navy. He was a ship's officer for 20 years.
May have contributed to the illegal shipment of arms from France to Spain in support of Don Carlos (1788-1855). He also fell in love with a girl, though it unfortunately ended in a duel with an American named J. M. K. Blunt.

Leopold II - King of Belgium (1865-1909)

Was interested in developing Belgium's defenses because--to his understanding--during the Franco-German War (1870-1871) Belgian Independence was at risk because of France and Germany who were increasing in power.
He needed money desperately, and he decided that the best way get it would be by establishing an African colony.
He led the first European efforts to develop the Congo River basin which lead to the formation in 1885 of the Congo Free State.

The Congo Free State:
A huge part of Africa that was recognized by the United States and major nations of Western Europe to belong to King Leopold II.
The Congo Free State: Richness
a hard, white material from the tusks (traditionally elephant's) and teeth of animals that can be used in art or manufacturing.
This material was valued during the 1890s before plastic because it could be carved into many shapes including false teeth and jewelry.
a tough elastic polymeric substance made from the latex of a tropical plant or synthetically.
This material was valued during the 1890s' "rubber boom", which was kicked off by the invention of the bicycle tire, and the automobile.
The Congo Free State: Forced Labor
Rubber existed naturally in the Landolphia vines in the Great Central African Rainforest; rubber was difficult to cultivate because the trees took too long to grow.
Private armies
"Force Publique"
went into villages, held women hostage, and forced men to go into the rainforest to gather a monthly quota of wild rubber.
Many of the women hostages starved, and many of the male rubber gatherers were worked to death.
Building roads, and chopping wood for steamboat boilers worked on forced labor too.
Forced labor created famine because nobody could cultivate crops.

Congolese often left their villages to avoid forced labor.
Congolese soldiers of the Force Publique had to bring the hands of the rebels they killed to prove that they had not wasted any bullets.

The Congo Free State: Rebellions

Conrad wrote novels about places he visited as a merchant marine.

Joseph Conrad's Books: 1895,
“Almayer’s Folly”;
“An Outcast of the Islands”;
“The N—— of the “Narcissus”;
“Heart of Darkness”;
“Lord Jim”
“The Secret Agent”;
“The Secret Sharer”
; 1911,
“Under Western Eyes”

"A slow and painstaking writer, Conrad felt utterly exhausted after completing three hundred words--a page and a half in his script--which was his average daily achievement."

Conrad suffered from dark moods, and temper fits.
He had gout, and migraines.
He was an introverted fellow who found it difficult to interact even with his wife.
Joseph Conrad- Literary Work
Adulthood - 1920s
Conrad died of heart failure at the age of 66.

Conrad left behind a large collection of work, whose nature he defined as a "single-minded attempt to render the highest kind of justice to the visible universe, by bringing to light the truth, manifold and one, underlying its every aspect."
Congo Experience
Job offered - '
Society Anonym Belge for the Commerce of Congo'
French ship: Sailed from Bordeaux -> Boma -> Matadi -> Kinshasa
'The Florida'
was severely damaged
'Roi des Belges'
on a journey to retrieve an ill agent; Georges Antoine Klein
Conrad became a temporary captain
Discouraged and frustrated by the seemingly uneventful and tiresome trip, Conrad returned to Europe
Conrad purposely made the novel difficult to read because he wanted to convey the feelings of confusion and terror of fighting through the Congo.

In Part II, Marlow breaks off the narration to explain to his crew members that they cannot fully comprehend his story because they live in a modern, 'civilized' world.
Writing Style
Constructs protagonists to reflect his own life events, experiences and ambitions
Through Heart of Darkness, Conrad attempts to denounce all European imperialism in Congo through the diverse nationalities of his characters.
Marlow (English), Freslevem (Danish), Kurtz (Belgian) etc.

In part 3, Joseph Conrad depicts his standpoints from Marlow's viewpoint. In his novel, he uses the light/darkness motif. However, he showcases white as the colour of blindness, with black representing evil and savagery, both negative in this book, as are the white and black people, which Conrad clearly emphasizes.
Marlow sees Kurtz mistress as an ideal for civilization.
As it is on their behalf that men undertake economic
enterprises, and it is their beauty that comes to symbolize nations and ways of life.
Joseph conrad believes that society continues to blind itself with savagery and greed, as depicted using the pilgrims pointless gunfire.

Part II:
Part I:
Darkness in Africa:
Snake-river: archetype
"Heart of Darkness"
Inefficiency and Lunacy:
Holed bucket to extinguish fire.
Firing blindly into a forest.
Drilling pointless hole.

Admiration for the cannibals self-restraint
"Prehistoric" Africa and the natives
'Night of first ages'
Focuses on 'work'
The fog surrounding the steamer before the atatck
Marlow's contradictory language
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