Lola Peiró offers us biographical information about
in relation to his work
Heart of Darkness
More sedentary authors usually allow me a calm biographical layout, where the anecdote can color a background landscape that opens the way to a better knowledge of the character in question; others seem to be mounted on a fast train, through whose window we are only allowed to perceive an almost abstract landscape. Such is the case of Joseph Conrad, a name that he changed with great practical sense, if we take into account that his birth certificate appears as: Josef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski.
He was born in Ukraine, into a Polish family; his father is an aristocrat already in poverty who is reported to Siberia when Joseph is still a child. In exile, the mother dies and the father dies at the age of four, so an uncle of his has to take over his guardianship. In 1874 he abandoned his studies and enlisted as a sailor in the port of Marseille. But in Caribbean waters, he finds himself involved in an arms smuggling affair, a mess that leads him to a state of despair capable of even committing a suicide attempt.
Having solved this first problem, he traveled to England, a country that was to be his place of adoption from now on (in 1886 he became British), and in such a way he took this land as his own that he learned the language promptly and with dedication. In fact, it was the language with which he wrote almost all of his work, and we have to say that in an excellent way. From there he is seen passing, through that quick window of his life, towards the Far East, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia ... and already achieved the title of Captain of the British Navy, he begins his second activity, that of writer. He piloted the "Narcissus" through Asia, where he found inspiration for "Lord Jim", or "The Wanderer of the Islands", or "The black of the Narcissus" ... But the journey that Conrad longed to do since his childhood was the one that It will take you to know Africa and, above all, the Congo, with that shocking river. Having obtained a shipment that had all the signs of an adventure, a period began that gave him the opportunity to learn about the atrocities that the settlers committed against the indigenous people, an experience that he transferred to the book that concerns us today: "The heart of darkness."
He witnessed the birth of that "International African Association" founded by Leopold II of Belgium, and how this king took official possession of the Congo whose exploitation was carried out by Stanley, who had already explored the Victoria and Tanganyika lakes, starting from here the journey across the Congo River. The king took official possession of those lands in 1884 and a year later, the ominous "personal" dominion of Leopold II over the Autonomous State of the Congo was confirmed. In 1908, this battered country was converted into a Belgian colony ... All these events, and others of such kind that occurred during the s. XIX will undoubtedly determine the course of the literary lines and thought of Joseph Conrad, who also knows and maintains friendship with almost all the great writers and artists of his time, such as Bertrand Russell, GB Shaw, edits with F. Madox Ford ... and travels, and marries, and has two children, and the tape of his journey continues with equal speed until in 1924 he dies, leaving his novel "Suspense" unfinished, having rejected a noble title, and being accompanied into eternity nothing more and nothing less than by Lenin himself. We do not know if this decision from heaven would be very funny.
Other works by Joseph Conrad:- The madness of Almayer (1895)
- A Wanderer in the Islands (1896)
- The black of the Narcissus (1897)
- The Heart of Darkness (1899)
- Typhoon (1899)
- Lord Jim (1900)
- The heirs (1901)
- Nostromo (1904)
- The Secret Agent (1909)
- Between the land and the sea (1912)
- Personal Chronicle (1912)
- Victoria (1915)
- The Shadow Line (1917)
- The Nature of a Crime (1923)