Joseph Conrad: A Biography

Jeffrey Meyers, Author Scribner Book Company $27.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19230-7
To his distinguished biogrpahies of Hemingway, Wyndham Lewis, D. H. Lawrence and others, Meyers now adds a study of the elusive author of Nostromo and Victor , and he comes up with all sorts of little-known or unpublished material. Meyers provides new insights into Conrad's troubled Polish childhood, his harsh 20 years as a seaman, his rash involvement in the Carlist wars, his marriage to a placid woman who was the perfect foil to his neurasthenic personality and his friendships with the likes of Madox Ford, Galsworthy, Stephen Crane and Henry James. In his role as passionate literary detective, Meyers finds real-life sources of lead characters in Heart of Darkness, Under Western Eyes and The Arrow of Gold (about the tempestuous American journalist, Jane Anderson, with whom Conrad had an affair). The author gives us a clear perspective on both the life (1857-1924) and achievements of a writer who, racked by gout, guilt and debt most of his life (his novels were more often praised than read), mastered a foreign language in middle age to become one of its greatest craftsmen. Photos. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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