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The Life of Joseph Conrad (Blackwell Critical Biographies) [Hardcover]

BATCHELOR


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Book Description

18 Nov 1993 Blackwell Critical Biographies (Book 4)
Joseph Conrad, who was born in the Ukraine in 1857, brought up in Poland and schooled in the merchant marine, died near Canterbury in 1924, having become a major British novelist of the period 1895-1920. John Batchelor's biography of this enigmatic figure uses archive material, as well as published sources, to reveal the close relationship, at every stage of Conrad's writing career, between the life and the work. Conrad was both depressive and delinquent. He manipulated friends, such as Ford Madox Ford, Edward Garnett and John Galsworthy, into relationships that went at least some way to meeting his urgent psychological needs. He suffered from virulent writer's block, and would accept substantial advances from publishers and his agent, J.B. Pinker, for works which he then found himself unable or unwilling to write. Many of his best-known works, "Heart of Darkness" , "Lord Jim" and "Nostromo", for example, can be seen as forms of escape from uncongenial duties. Batchelor's study, which includes an account of the complex and fugitive Polish background, reveals Conrad as being one of the most tormented and self-defeating of Britain's literary figures.

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"I cannot think of a better introduction to Conrad as a total phenomenon – the man, the artist, the ensemble of texts – than John Batchelor′s new critical biography. In a deft, lively, and imaginative way, the book interweaves a narrative of Conrad′s life, a concise view of his fiction, and a critical discussion of the scholarly response to his writings. The three strands interconnect in revealing ways and illuminate one another, yielding an argument that is varied, wide–ranging, and rich in detail... it is a real treat to turn to a book that is thought–provoking yet sensible; well–informed yet unpretentious, and, as an added bonus, highly readable. Batchelor′s critical biography will enrich the perspective of those who are already familiar with Conrad, and send to the library shelves those who are not." Andrzej Busza, University of British Columbia

"Professor Batchelor, with compassionate fairness of mind, exposes all the weaknesses, all the evasions in Conrad the man, but at the same time leaves the reader in no doubt as to the greatness of the work. His account of the death of this great sceptic, who wrote about fidelity and was buried in a Roman Catholic graveyard, is especially moving." A. D. Nuttall, New College, Oxford

"Batchelor is a sound critic, but Blackwell′s series format requires him to cover too many topics, leaving him with no space in which to develop original perceptions."D. Kramer, Book Review Digest. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and died near Canterbury in 1924, having become the major British novelist of his time. John Batchelor′s important new biography of this most extraordinary, enigmatic figure, uses archive material, as well as published sources, to reveal the especially close relationship, at every stage of Conrad′s writing career, between his life and work.

Conrad was both depressive and delinquent. He manipulated friends, such as Ford Madox Ford, Edward Garnett, and John Galsworthy, into relationships that went at least some way to meeting his urgent psychological needs. He suffered from virulent writer′s block, and would accept substantial advances from publishers and his agent, J. B. Pinker, for works which he then found himself unable or unwilling to write. Many of his best–known works, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim and Nostromo, for example, can be seen as forms of escape from uncongenial duties.

Batchelor′s study, which gives full account of the complex and fugitive Polish background, reveals, with enormous skill, Conrad, the great writer, as being also one of the most tormented and self–defeating of our literary figures. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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