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200 × 130 mm
208 pages
40 illustrations
18 Jan 2021
Critical Lives
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Joseph Conrad Robert Hampson

Joseph Conrad is widely recognized as one of the greatest writers of the early twentieth century. Robert Hampson traces Conrad’s life from his childhood in a Russian penal colony, through his early manhood in Marseille and his years in the British Merchant Navy, to his career as a novelist. It describes how these experiences inspired Conrad’s work, from his early Malay novels to his best-known work, Heart of Darkness. Robert Hampson also discusses Conrad’s important relations with other writers, in particular Ford Madox Ford, as well as his late-life political engagements and his relationships with women. Featuring new interpretations of all of Conrad’s major works, this is an original interpretation of Conrad’s life of writing.

‘Concise, lucid, balanced, precise and reliable, the book interweaves skilfully the analyses of the literary works and the unfolding of Conrad’s life. What results is a clear, proficient and moving account of a complex and exemplary genius.’ — Cedric Watts, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Sussex and author of 'Joseph Conrad: A Literary Life (1989)'

‘Insightful, judicious, and elegant, Joseph Conrad marvelously distills a lifetime of learning by one of the world’s leading Conrad scholars. Robert Hampson guides us sure-footedly through Conrad’s fascinating life—as a Polish immigrant, a professional sailor, and a belatedly successful writer—while deftly examining the critical themes of all his works. Conrad remains a complicated and controversial figure, and Hampson’s Conrad—as an introduction for students, a reference for scholars, or a meditation for general readers—delivers the best short guide to his life available.’ — Maya Jasanoff, Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard University and author of 'The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World' (2017)

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Robert Hampson is Research Fellow at the University of London’s Institute for English Studies. He is the Chair of the Joseph Conrad Society (UK) and the author of three monographs on Conrad.

Note on References / Abbreviations

Introduction: Conrad’s reputation
Chapter 1: Family Background
Chapter 2: Maritime Career
Chapter 3: Malay Fiction
Chapter 4: Conrad and the Literary Marketplace
Chapter 5: Marlow and Blackwood’s
Chapter 6: The Americas, Nationalism and Empire
Chapter 7: Anarchists and Secret Agents
Chapter 8: Betrayal and Breakdown
Chapter 9: Poland Revisited
Chapter 10: Conrad and Women
Chapter 11: Commercial Success and North America
Chapter 12: Conrad and France

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Photo Acknowledgements