Term papers writing service


The legacy of joseph conrads literary works

Maya Jasanoff weaves together biography, history, literature and her own travels in a new book about the globe-trotting author. Reviewer John Powers says Jasanoff's portrait of Conrad is terrific. Our critic-at-large John Powers has a review of a new book about the life and work of the great Polish-born writer Joseph Conrad.

John says you don't need to be a Conrad buff to find it engrossing. The author, Maya Jasanoff, is the Coolidge professor of history at Harvard. We're in the middle of a boom in serious popularizing books that try to bring us closer to the classics by anchoring them in the lives of their creators, books like Stephen Greenblatt's "Will In The World," which explores how young Shakespeare made himself into Will Shakespeare, and Sarah Bakewell's "At The Existentialist Cafe," which grounds the work of Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir and others in their gaudy personal experience.

Jasanoff clearly has a taste for uprooted people. Her previous book was about British Loyalists who fled the U. In Conrad, she has a subject who lived a globe-trotting life so extraordinary that it makes our beat writers seem positively suburban.

Born in 1857, Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski was the son of a Polish nationalist exiled for opposing Russian domination. Young Joseph spent part of his boyhood in exile, too, then in his mid-teens headed to Marseille to become a sailor. After a suicide attempt, he moved to London. England would become his home, and he joined the British merchant marine.

Conrad went on to sail the world, having experiences that famously led Henry James to enthuse, no writer has ever known what you know. Conrad battled typhoons in the South Seas, traveled up a river in Borneo, wandered the teeming the legacy of joseph conrads literary works city of Singapore and skippered a steamer up the Congo River back when Belgium was busy turning this colonial possession into a slave state, where African laborers had their hands chopped off for not working fast enough.

Eventually in his 30s, he began writing in English, his third language.

  • When the Torrens had left Adelaide on 13 March 1893, the passengers had included two young Englishmen returning from Australia and New Zealand;
  • Interestingly, Conrad despised Dostoevsky , another Slavic writer and master of psychology often cited as marking the transition between realist and modern fiction;
  • In 1890 he journeyed up the Congo River in west Africa, a journey that provided much material for his novella Heart of Darkness;
  • In one letter he remarked that every novel he had written had cost him a tooth;
  • The film portrays an officer, played by Martin Sheen , sent up the Mekong River to kill a rogue Colonel Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando who had lost his soul in his effort to beat the Viet Cong at their own style of war, which included terror and torture;
  • He charmed new acquaintances, especially women.

Jasanoff does a nifty job of tracing how Conrad's travels shaped four of his greatest books - "Lord Jim," "The Secret Agent," "Nostromo" and of course "Heart Of Darkness," the fruits of that Congo journey and one of the defining documents of our modern age, even being turned into the movie "Apocalypse Now. In "The Secret Agent," you have the Russian government interfering in the affairs of a democratic state. In "Nostromo," you see the British Empire facing the threat of being eclipsed by America just as our own empire now sees the rise of China.

  • We're in the middle of a boom in serious popularizing books that try to bring us closer to the classics by anchoring them in the lives of their creators, books like Stephen Greenblatt's "Will In The World," which explores how young Shakespeare made himself into Will Shakespeare, and Sarah Bakewell's "At The Existentialist Cafe," which grounds the work of Sartre, Camus, de Beauvoir and others in their gaudy personal experience;
  • Even if you hated "Lord Jim" in high school, this book will make you want to pick it up again;
  • If I succeed, you shall find there according to your deserts:

Now, Jasanoff doesn't whitewash the harsher truths about Conrad - for instance, his undeniable racism. Yet she also reminds us that this brilliant dead-serious artist wasn't some white supremacist marcher.

Joseph Conrad

Even as "Heart Of Darkness" treats Africans as a symbolic blur, not individuals, it still challenged his heirs' received notions of race. Conrad makes it clear that the book's true savages are the colonial Europeans and that blacks and whites share the same capacity for good and evil.

  • He scorned sentimentality; his manner of portraying emotion in his books was full of restraint, scepticism and irony;
  • He had departed from "hope for the future" and from the conceit of "sailing [ever] toward Poland", and from his Panslavic ideas;
  • Renouf's eldest sister was the wife of Louis Edward Schmidt, a senior official in the colony; with them lived two other sisters and two brothers;
  • Conrad was an Anglophile, who regarded Britain as a land which respected individual liberties;
  • Norman Douglas sums it up;
  • Joseph Conrad's career at sea In 1874 Conrad left Poland to start a merchant-marine career.

In her introduction, Jasanoff notes that it might seem strange that a woman who's half-Jewish and half-Asian should be fascinated by the work of a pessimistic conservative the legacy of joseph conrads literary works served up Asian stereotypes, could be anti-Semitic and wrote almost nothing about women. Yet she explains why it's important that we grapple with figures like Conrad even if we don't share their values.

History is like therapy for the present, she writes. It makes us talk about its parents. She's right as well as witty. And reading "The Dawn Watch," we see how we are in many ways Conrad's children. Even if you hated "Lord Jim" in high school, this book will make you want to pick it up again.

John Powers writes about film and TV for Vogue and vogue. We talk with Luke Harding, author of the new book "Collusion. He's a reporter for The Guardian and spent four years as their Moscow bureau chief. His book is in part about how the Russians cultivated Donald Trump.

I hope you'll join us. Our technical director and engineer is Audrey Bentham. Our associate producer for digital media is Molly Seavy-Nesper. Roberta Shorrock directs the show. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc.

This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary.