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Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. In 1874 Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice. In 1886 he obtained British nationality. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes. He continued to write until his death in 1924. J. H. Stape is the author of The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad (1996) and Conrad's Notes on Life and Letters (2004).
When a young seaman named Jim follows his captain in abandoning a sinking ship and leaving its passengers aboard, the guilt he feels follows him for the rest of his life. Offered the opportunity for a new beginning, Jim takes up the role of a company representative on a remote Pacific island, where he gains respect from the locals who name him ""Lord"" Jim. But this new sense of self-belief is challenged when marauders attack the island. Conrad's powerful late 19th-century tale drew on real-life events as it examined the terrible repercussions of poor judgement and the subsequent tragedy that ensued.
Written more than a century ago, this absolutely timeless book and its underlying themes hold just as much significance today. Intense and compelling, Heart of Darkness looks into the darkest recesses of human nature and Conrad takes the reader through a horrific tale in a very gripping voice. Conrad’s novella is about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story's narrator Charles Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames. In little over 100 pages, Conrad explores the darkness in men's hearts as Marlow narrates his travels up the Congo toward his appointment with the steamboat and with fate, in the form of Kurtz, the megalomaniac manager of an ivory trading station. This story is incredibly clever, profound and full of layered descriptions, symbolism and double meanings. It’s a must-read and an absolute certainty for our top 50 classics. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
Secret Agent is Joseph Conrad's dark satire on English society, edited with an introduction and notes by Michael Newton in Penguin Classics . In the only novel Conrad set in London, The Secret Agent communicates a profoundly ironic view of human affairs. The story is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894 masterminded by Verloc, a Russian spy working for the police, and ostensibly a member of an anarchist group in Soho. His masters instruct him to discredit the anarchists in a humiliating fashion, and when his evil plan goes horribly awry, Verloc must deal with the repercussions of his actions. While rooted in the Edwardian period, Conrad's tale remains strikingly contemporary, with its depiction of Londoners gripped by fear of the terrorists living in their midst. This edition of The Secret Agent contains a chronology, further reading, notes and maps of London and Greenwich. In his introduction, Michael Newton discusses London's real-life world of political anarchy, and Conrad's portrayal of the Verlocs' marriage.
The first incarnation of this Broadview edition of Heart of Darkness appeared in 1995, the second in 1999; both were widely acclaimed, and the Goonetilleke Heart of Darkness remained for many years one of Broadview's best-selling titles. For the third edition the book has been completely revised and updated to take account of the scholarship of the most recent generation. The introduction has been extensively rewritten, and the appendices of contextual materials thoroughly overhauled.The two previous editions of the Goonetilleke Heart of Darkness included a substantial selection of documents on the history of Benin, ranging from excerpts taken from Olaudah Equiano's eighteenth-century narrative to documents concerning the Benin massacre of 1897. Those documents concerning a neighboring Bantu society were included in large part because of the paucity of known late nineteenth-century documents concerning the Congo by black Africans - or indeed by black observers of any nationality. In place of those Benin-related materials, this new edition includes substantial excerpts from George Washington Williams's Letter to Leopold II, as well as substantial excerpts from an extraordinary document not included in any other edition of Heart of Darkness (but discussed extensively in two ground-breaking twenty-first century works of scholarship, David Van Reybrouck's Congo: The Epic History of a People and Maya Jasanoff's The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World): the autobiography of Disasi Makulo. Makulo grew up near the shore of the Congo River in the 1880s and early 1890s, was enslaved by notorious ivory dealer Tippu Tip, and then was taken under the wing of Henry Morgan Stanley. Makulo's account - substantial excerpts of which are here translated into English for the first time - opens an unprecedented window on life in the equatorial forest of the Congo in the late nineteenth century.
This masterpiece of political fiction is one of Joseph Conrad's most important late novels. Joseph Conrad's last overtly political novel, Under Western Eyes is considered to be one of his greatest works. Set in pre-Revolutionary Russia, the novel tells the story of a young student involuntarily involved in an assassination and explores themes of terrorism, surveillance, and the suffering of ordinary people caught up in political strife. The introduction and appendices to this edition provide context for Conrad's own political views, as well as material on contemporary Eastern European anarchism and terrorism. This is the only edition with appendices.
Acclaimed illustrator Peter Kuper delivers a visually immersive and profound adaptation of Joseph Conrad's controversial classic that doesn't just retell the book [but] destabilizes it, forcing a reconsideration (Etelka Lechoczy, NPR). Longtime admirers of the novella will appreciate his innovative interpretations, while new readers will discover a brilliant introduction to a canonical work of twentieth-century literature.