About This Author

Joseph Conrad

Head shot with moustache and beard
Conrad in 1904 by George Charles Beresford

Born

Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski3 December 1857 Berdychiv, Russian Empire

Died

3 August 1924 Bishopsbourne, Kent, England

Resting place

Canterbury Cemetery, Canterbury

Occupation

Novelist, short-story writer

Nationality

Polish

Citizenship

British

Period

1895–1923: Modernism

Genre

Fiction

Notable works

The Nigger of the 'Narcissus'Heart of DarknessLord JimTyphoonNostromoThe Secret AgentUnder Western Eyes

Spouse

Jessie George

Children

2

Signature

Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature. Conrad wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of what he saw as an impassive, inscrutable universe.

Conrad is considered an early modernist, though his works contain elements of 19th-century realism. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced numerous authors, and many films have been adapted from, or inspired by, his works. Numerous writers and critics have commented that Conrad's fictional works, written largely in the first two decades of the 20th century, seem to have anticipated later world events.

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Discover Joseph Conrad Quotes and Sayings

Who knows what true loneliness is - not the conventional word but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion. - Joseph Conrad

Who knows what true loneliness is - not the conventional word but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion.

Joseph Conrad

alone
The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary men alone are quite capable of every wickedness. - Joseph Conrad

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.

Joseph Conrad

men alone
History repeats itself, but the special call of an art which has passed away is never reproduced. It is as utterly gone out of the world as the song of a destroyed wild bird. - Joseph Conrad

History repeats itself, but the special call of an art which has passed away is never reproduced. It is as utterly gone out of the world as the song of a destroyed wild bird.

Joseph Conrad

history art
Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life. - Joseph Conrad

Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.

Joseph Conrad

truth imagination art
Any work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line. - Joseph Conrad

Any work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line.

Joseph Conrad

art
The sea - this truth must be confessed - has no generosity. No display of manly qualities - courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness - has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power. - Joseph Conrad

The sea - this truth must be confessed - has no generosity. No display of manly qualities - courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness - has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power.

Joseph Conrad

truth power courage
The last thing a woman will consent to discover in a man whom she loves, or on whom she simply depends, is want of courage. - Joseph Conrad

The last thing a woman will consent to discover in a man whom she loves, or on whom she simply depends, is want of courage.

Joseph Conrad

courage
Perhaps life is just that... a dream and a fear. - Joseph Conrad

Perhaps life is just that... a dream and a fear.

Joseph Conrad

fear dreams
Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life. - Joseph Conrad

Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life.

Joseph Conrad

strength nature faith
How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a specter through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by its spectral throat? - Joseph Conrad

How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a specter through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by its spectral throat?

Joseph Conrad

fear
Going home must be like going to render an account. - Joseph Conrad

Going home must be like going to render an account.

Joseph Conrad

home
Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love - and to put its trust in life. - Joseph Conrad

Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love - and to put its trust in life.

Joseph Conrad

trust love hope
All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. - Joseph Conrad

All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.

Joseph Conrad

legal
Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men. - Joseph Conrad

Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.

Joseph Conrad

women men
I take it that what all men are really after is some form or perhaps only some formula of peace. - Joseph Conrad

I take it that what all men are really after is some form or perhaps only some formula of peace.

Joseph Conrad

peace
He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense. - Joseph Conrad

He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.

Joseph Conrad

trust power