Biography for Heart of Darkness : Includes Ebook
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Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski was born in 1857 in the Russian part of Poland. His parents were punished for their Polish nationalist activities, and the family was exiled to northern Russia. At age twelve, after both of his parents had died of tuberculosis, Conrad was sent to live with his uncle in Switzerland. During his youth he attended schools in Krakow, was involved in arms smuggling for the Carlist cause in Spain, and joined the French merchant marine. Conrad continued his naval career for sixteen years in the British merchant navy, and in 1886, he commanded his own ship, the Otago. In that same year, he became a British citizen and changed his name to Joseph Conrad.Conrad sailed to many parts of the world, including Australia, the West Indies, South America, and the Congo River. It was during theses long journeys that he started to write. At age thirty-six, Conrad ended his sea career, devoted himself entirely to literature, and settled in England. Two years later, he married an Englishwoman, by whom he had two sons. Despite the immediate critical recognition of his major novels, they did not sell well. The family lived in relative poverty until the commercial success of Chance in 1913. Having finally received acclaim, he was offered a knighthood in 1923, which he declined. Conrad died of a heart attack one year later.Conrad crystallized his often quoted goal as a writer: "My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel-it is, above all, to make you see. That-and no more, and it is everything."Conrad's works of extreme subtlety, sophistication, and technical complexities-and the unprecedented way in which he communicates a pessimist's view of man's personal and social destiny-established him as one of the first English "modernists." Critics consider him to be the single most important innovator of twentieth-century literature.Many of Conrad's novels drew material, events, and personalities from his own experiences in different parts of the world. His most popular works are Heart of Darkness (influenced by his journey up the Congo River, where he learned about atrocities made by Congo "explorers"), Lord Jim (drawn from his career in the British navy), and Nostromo. Conrad's novels had a significant impact on other twentieth-century writers, including Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Eliot, Sartre, and Greene. Several of Conrad's stories have been made into films, most notably Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, based on Heart of Darkness, and Alfred Hitchcock's The Sabotage, based on The Secret Agent. Scott Brick has recorded over five hundred audiobooks, has won over forty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has twice received Audie Awards for his work on the Dune series. He has been proclaimed both a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine and Publishers Weekly's 2007 Narrator of the Year. Scott has recorded Frank Herbert's Hellstrom's Hive, Whipping Star, The Dragon in the Sea, and The White Plague for Tantor Audio.