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Joseph Conrad (originally Józef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. His parents, ardent Polish patriots, died when he was a child, following their exile for anti-Russian activities, and he came under the protection of his tradition-conscious uncle, Thaddeus Bobrowski, who watched over him for the next twenty-five years.
In 1874 Bobrowski conceded to his nephew's passionate desire to go to sea and Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice.
In 1886 he obtained British nationality and his Master's certificate in the British Merchant Service. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he married Jessie George and eventually settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes.
He continued to write until his death in 1924. Today Conrad is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of fiction in English - his third language. He once described himself as being concerned 'with the ideal value of things, events and people'; in the Preface to The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' he defined his task as 'by the power of the written word ... before all, to make you see'.
"Heart of Darkness" has been considered for most of this century as a literary classic, and also as a powerful indictment of the evils of imperialism. It reflects the savage repressions carried out in the Congo by the Belgians in one of the largest acts of genocide committed up to that time. Conrad's narrator encounters at the end of the story a man named Kurtz, dying, insane, and guilty of unspeakable atrocities.First appearing as a three-part series in "Blackwood's Magazine" in 1899, it was soon after published as a novella, in 1902 in the volume "Youth: A Narrative"; and "Two Other Stories".
In the only novel Conrad set in London, "The Secret Agent" communicates a profoundly ironic view of human affairs. The story is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894 masterminded by Verloc, a Russian spy working for the police, and ostensibly a member of an anarchist group in Soho. His masters instruct him to discredit the anarchists in a humiliating fashion, and when his evil plan goes horribly awry, Verlac must deal with the repercussions of his actions.
Acclaimed illustrator Peter Kuper delivers a visually immersive and profound adaptation of Joseph Conrad's controversial classic that doesn't just retell the book [but] destabilizes it, forcing a reconsideration (Etelka Lechoczy, NPR). Longtime admirers of the novella will appreciate his innovative interpretations, while new readers will discover a brilliant introduction to a canonical work of twentieth-century literature.
The first incarnation of this Broadview edition of Heart of Darkness appeared in 1995, the second in 1999; both were widely acclaimed, and the Goonetilleke Heart of Darkness remained for many years one of Broadview's best-selling titles. For the third edition the book has been completely revised and updated to take account of the scholarship of the most recent generation. The introduction has been extensively rewritten, and the appendices of contextual materials thoroughly overhauled.The two previous editions of the Goonetilleke Heart of Darkness included a substantial selection of documents on the history of Benin, ranging from excerpts taken from Olaudah Equiano's eighteenth-century narrative to documents concerning the Benin massacre of 1897. Those documents concerning a neighboring Bantu society were included in large part because of the paucity of known late nineteenth-century documents concerning the Congo by black Africans - or indeed by black observers of any nationality. In place of those Benin-related materials, this new edition includes substantial excerpts from George Washington Williams's Letter to Leopold II, as well as substantial excerpts from an extraordinary document not included in any other edition of Heart of Darkness (but discussed extensively in two ground-breaking twenty-first century works of scholarship, David Van Reybrouck's Congo: The Epic History of a People and Maya Jasanoff's The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World): the autobiography of Disasi Makulo. Makulo grew up near the shore of the Congo River in the 1880s and early 1890s, was enslaved by notorious ivory dealer Tippu Tip, and then was taken under the wing of Henry Morgan Stanley. Makulo's account - substantial excerpts of which are here translated into English for the first time - opens an unprecedented window on life in the equatorial forest of the Congo in the late nineteenth century.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY GILES FODEN London is under threat. It has become a haven for political exiles and anarchists. Frequent bomb threats and disturbances interrupt the lives of the city's inhabitants, who live in fear of the terrorists in their midst. One such terrorist is Verloc. He is the secret agent who is given the mission to strike right at the heart of London's pride by blowing up Greenwich Observatory. But his decision to drag his innocent family into the plot leads to tragic consequences on a more personal than political level.
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