The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, Volume 7

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Cambridge University Press, 1983 - Biography & Autobiography - 656 pages
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This penultimate volume of Conrad's collected letters ends soon after his 65th birthday. Over the previous three years, Conrad wrote The Rover, struggled with Suspense, translated The Book of Job (a Polish comedy), collaborated with J. B. Pinker on a cinematic treatment of 'Gaspar Ruiz', and worked by himself on adapting The Secret Agent for the London stage. He saw the publication of The Rescue, Notes on Life and Letters, and the Doubleday/Heinemann collected edition, most of whose volumes had new Author's Notes. Especially in North America, the collected edition strengthened his reputation as the leading English-language novelist of his day. This recognition could not always console him for his worries about his health, his family, and the state of post-war Europe, but he had not lost his sense of irony. These letters, the majority new to scholarship, abound in striking turns of phrase and unexpected insights.

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Page xxxv - Didn't it ever occur to you, my dear Curle, that I knew what I was doing in leaving the facts of my life and even of my tales in the background. Explicitness, my dear fellow, is fatal to the glamour of all artistic work, robbing it of all suggestiveness, destroying all illusion.

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About the author (1983)

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.

Laurence Davies is Research Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College and co-author of Cunninghame Graham: A Critical Biography.