Joseph Conrad Yacht Club Chicago

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JOSEPH CONRAD

ENGLISH


Joseph Conrad was born Józef Teodor Konrad Nałęcz Korzeniowski in Berdyczów, formerly in the Commonwealth of Poland, on December 3, 1857. Polish born, he would become one of the greatest novelists and prose stylists of English literature, an enormous achievement considering that he mastered English as his fourth language at the age of twenty. His father, Apollo Korzeniowski, was a translator of English and French literature, and so Joseph, while still a boy, had significant exposure to English, French, and Polish literature.

In 1862, Joseph’s family was exiled to northern Russia as a result of his father’s political activities. In 1865, his mother Ewelina died of tuberculosis. In 1886, Apollo Korzeniowski was permitted to return from exile and, together with his son, settled in Lvov. The next year they moved to Cracow. In 1869, after Apollo’s death, Joseph’s maternal uncle, Tadeusz Bobrowski, took charge of the boy’s education and upbringing.

In 1872, Joseph surprised his family by expressing his desire to go to sea. Despite the many attempts to dissuade him from his decision, he left Poland in 1874 for Marseilles, France where he began his career as a sailor. While working on ships, Korzeniowski made numerous voyages in and around Europe as well as to the Caribbean. In 1878, he joined the British merchant marine where he swiftly rose in rank.
In 1886, he earned a Master Mariner certificate and became a naturalized British citizen. It was at this time that he officially changed his name to “Joseph Conrad”. As a British mariner, he spent many years sailing all over the world. These experiences provided him with material for the exotic locations of many of his novels.Conrad traveled to Australia, to various islands in the Indian Ocean and in the South Pacific, to South America, and he even sailed up the Congo River in Africa. While sailing to Australia, he took his first command (1888), of the ship Otago. In 1894, at the age of 36, after twenty years at sea, Conrad finally left the sea behind and settled down in England. Two years later he married an Englishwoman by the name of Jessie George. The couple had two sons.

Conrad still occasionally traveled, but most of his time was spent writing his novels. His first, Almayer’s Folly, appeared in print in 1899. Lord Jim came in 1900 and Nostromo in 1904. Conrad continued to write until his death. His last novel, Suspense, published posthumously in 1925, remained unfinished.

In 1923, the year before his death, Conrad, who possessed a hereditary Polish coat-of-arms, declined the offer of British knighthood which was not hereditary. Conrad died on August 3, 1924 and was interred at Canterbury Cemetery, Canterbury, England under the name of Korzeniowski.

Conrad is regarded as a forerunner of modernism. His narrative style and existential, anti-heroic characters influenced many writers including Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, and Joseph Heller, as well as provided inspiration for the film Apocalypse Now (which drew from Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”). To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Conrad’s birth, UNESCO and the Polish government respectively recognized and designated the year 2007 as “Conrad in the World” year.


POLISH


Joseph Conrad Jozef Konrad Korzeniowski Znany czlowiek morza a pozniej pisarz angielski polskiego pochodzenia. Wywodzil sie ze szlacheckiej rodziny. Korzeniowski urodzil sie na ziemiach polskich, bedacych pod zaborem rosyjskim, Byl synem pisarza i dzialacza-patrioty – Apollo Nalecza Korzeniowskiego. Wlasnie za zaangazowanie w dzialalnosc zmierzajaca do odzyskania przez Polske niepodleglosci, ojciec Konrada zoslany zostal do Rosji. Towarzyszyla mu zona i syn. Matka Konrada umarla gdy mial 7 lat, ojciec w cztery lata pozniej. Jego wuj Tadeusz Bobrowski zdolal go wowczas sciagnac z Rosji do Krakowa, gdzie przyszly pisarz wychowal sie pod jego opieka.

Jako dziecko, przepadal za czytaniem ksiazek, w szkole jednak nudzil sie, marzac o dalekich podrozach, zwlaszca na Daleki Wschod.

W roku 1874 przy pomocy wujka udalo mu sie wyemigrowac do Marsylii, gdzie rozpoczal marynarska sluzbe na statkach francyskich. Jako obywatel rosyjski nie czul sie jednak pewnie, totez wuj przekonal go by przyjal obywatelstwo brytyjskie. Zaangazowal sie zatem na statek “Mavis” i w roku 1878 wyladowal w Anglii. Mial 21 lat gdy zaczal uczyc sie jezyka angielskiego, przejawiajac niezwykle zdolnosci w tym kierunku, potwierdzone pozniej w ksiazkach opisanych i wydawanych w tym jezyku. W roku 1879 poplynal do Austarlii, pozniej plywal po Morzu Srodziemnym i do Indii Zachodnich. Wkrotce zdal w Londynie egzamin na mlodszego oficera i jako taki poplynal w 1881 do Australii. Szcegolnie czesto plywal do archipelagu Wysp Malajskich, Byl drugim oficeren na statku “Palestine” (425 ton wypornosci) przewozacym wegiel. Gdy statek na Sumatrze, w drodze do Bangkoku zapalil sie, musial zostac porzucony przez zaloge. Korzeniowski wrocil z Singapuru do Londynu jako pasazer parowcem.

W 1884 roku otrzymal dyplom pierwszego oficera, a w dwa lata pozniej przyjal obywatelstwo brytyjskei i zdal egzamin na kapitana. Mial wowczas zaledwie 29 lat.

W 1888 roku objal dowodztwo statku “Otago”, ktory plywal miedzy Australia a wyspa Mauritius. Stalo sie to w dosc niecodziennych okolicznosciach. Oto w czasie jednej z podrozy zmarl nagle kapitan statku i Korzeniowski w trybie awaryjnym objal dowodztwo. “Rosyjski ksiaze” bo taki przydomek zyskal sobie od zalogi, byl zachwycony zwinnym statkiem. Plywanie na “Otago” urzeklo go. Zalety tej jednostki opisal pozniej w “Zwierciadle Morza”. Statek byl malym, australijskim barkiem, o wypornosci 345 ton. Korzeniowski pisal ze “Otaga” wyglada niczym piekny rumak pomiedzy stadem koni pociagowych. Przygoda na “Otago” trwala 14 miesiecy