Joseph Conrad

Polish-British novelist and short story writer Joseph Conrad was born in a Russian-ruled province of Poland (in present-day Ukraine) in 1857. Both his parents were politically active in the Polish independence movement. As a result, the family was exiled to northern Russia in 1863. Conrad was orphaned at 11 and sent to live with his relatives. He joined the French merchant marines at 16. At 21, he joined a British ship and went on to work for the British merchant marines for ten years. During this stint, he became a naturalised British citizen and travelled to Asia, Africa, Australia, and India. His voyage to the Congo (then a Belgian colony) in 1890 sparked his powerful novella, Heart of Darkness (1899).

Conrad’s well-known novels include Nostromo (1904), The Secret Agent (1907), Under Western Eyes (1911), and Victory (1915). He is the author of several insightful short stories that showcase his intensely personal vision and remarkable writing skills. Conrad retired from the marines due to ill health and died of a heart attack in England in 1924.