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Conrad, Joseph


Subject Literature » Twentieth Century and Contemporary Literature

Key-Topics modernism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405192446.2011.x


Joseph Conrad has come to be seen as one of the most important British novelists of the twentieth century. His formal innovations and skeptical view of the world have influenced generations of subsequent writers, and his work has remained at the center of numerous critical debates since his time. Conrad was born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857, in Berdyczów, a largely Polish part of Ukraine, to Apollo Korzeniowski (1820–69) and Ewa Korzeniowska (nee Bobrowska, 1833–65). After the partitions of the eighteenth century, the previously autonomous country of Poland was divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary. Conrad's parents, in particular his father, were part of the Polish resistance movement against Russian rule, and in late 1861 Apollo was arrested for seditious activities. The following year, Conrad's parents were exiled to Vologda, a remote part of northern Russia. While in exile, Conrad's mother contracted tuberculosis and died. His father also contracted tuberculosis and was allowed to return to Poland in 1868, where he died the following year. Thereafter, Conrad was raised by his mother's family, especially his maternal uncle, Tadeusz Bobrowski (1829–94), who was to have a particularly strong influence on him. At 15, Conrad decided that he would like to become a sailor, and two years later his uncle agreed and subsequently sent him to Marseilles, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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