Joseph Conrad (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjuz̪ɛf ˌkɔn.rad]; born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski; 3 December 1857 – 3 August 1924) was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. He joined the British merchant marine in 1878, and was granted British citizenship in 1886. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature.[note 1] He wrote stories and novels, many with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of an impassive, inscrutable universe.[note 2]
Conrad is considered an early modernist, though his works still contain elements of 19th-century realism. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many authors, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, André Malraux, George Orwell,:254 Graham Greene, Gabriel García Márquez,John le Carré, V. S. Naipaul, Philip Roth, J. M. Coetzee, and Salman Rushdie. Many films have been adapted from, or inspired by, Conrad's works.
Writing in the heyday of the British Empire, Conrad drew on, among other things, his native Poland's national experiences[note 3] and his own experiences in the French and British merchant navies, to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a European-dominated world—including imperialism and colonialism—and that profoundly explore the human psyche.
Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novella by Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad, about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story's narrator Charles Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames, London, England. This setting provides the frame for Marlow's story of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz, which enables Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness.
Central to Conrad's work is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilised people and those described as savages; Heart of Darkness raises questions about imperialism and racism.
Originally issued as a three-part serial story in Blackwood's Magazine to celebrate the thousandth edition of the magazine, Heart of Darkness has been widely re-published and translated into many languages. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness sixty-seventh on their list of the hundred best novels in English of the twentieth century.]