Joseph Conrad Quotes

Joseph Conrad, 1857 – 1924

Born: 3 December 1857, Berdychiv, Russian Empire (now Ukraine)
Died: 3 August 1924, Bishopsbourne, England

Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski was born to impoverished but patriotic Polish parents in what is now Ukraine. His father was a playwright and translator but was involved in the January Uprising of 1864, and the family was exiled to Vologda, 300 miles north of Moscow where both parents died of tuberculosis, leaving their son orphaned at eleven. He lived with a maternal uncle at Kracow for a time, but when Conrad’s application for Austro-Hungarian citizenship was declined, he left for Marseille to avoid conscription into the Tsar’s army. He embarked on a series of voyages as a seaman, first out of Marseille and from 1878 on English ships, adding English to his French and Polish. Three years later he was a second mate and in 1886 he had his Master Mariner’s certificate and British citizenship, changing his name to Joseph Conrad. When he retired from the merchant marine in 1894 he had sixteen years of experience, experience which gave him stories to tell. He actually sailed on the ship “Narcissus”, and his time as captain of a Congo River steamboat gave him the material for Heart of Darkness. It wasn’t until 1914, with the publication of Chance, a book now little regarded, that his finances were reasonably comfortable and he established a home ‘Oswalds’ at Bishopsbourne, Canterbury. His work had gotten generally-favorable reviews and was much discussed, he declined a knighthood in 1924. He died at Oswalds following a heart attack.

Joseph Conrad quotes:

A man’s most open actions have a secret side to them.
    Joseph Conrad

A man’s real life is that accorded to him in the thoughts of other men by reason of respect or natural love.
    Joseph Conrad

A modern fleet of ships does not so much make use of the sea as exploit a highway.
    Joseph Conrad

A nickname may be the best record of a success. That’s what I call putting the face of a joke upon the body of a truth.
    Joseph Conrad

A word carries far, very far, deals destruction through time as the bullets go flying through space.
    Joseph Conrad

Above all, we must forgive the unhappy souls who have elected to make the pilgrimage on foot, who skirt the shore and look uncomprehendingly upon the horror of the struggle, the joy of victory, the profound hopelessness of the vanquished.
    Joseph Conrad

Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of illusions.
    Joseph Conrad

All a man can betray is his conscience.
    Joseph Conrad

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

An artist is a man of action, whether he creates a personality, invents an expedient, or finds the issue of a complicated situation.
    Joseph Conrad

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

As in political so in literary action a man wins friends for himself mostly by the passion of his prejudices and the consistent narrowness of his outlook.
    Joseph Conrad

Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.
    Joseph Conrad

Books may be written in all sorts of places. Verbal inspiration may enter the berth of a mariner on board a ship frozen fast in a river in the middle of a town.
    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

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