Joseph Conrad, a Polish-British writer, is considered one of the master prose stylists of the English language, even though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties. His stories and novels describe trials of the human spirit in an impassive, inscrutable universe. He wrote at the height of the British Empire and his fiction reflects the disturbing aspects of the imperialism and colonialism characteristic of a European-dominated world. We will read Heart of Darkness (1899) and The Secret Sharer (1909); Lord Jim (1900, a novel about courage and cowardice, self-knowledge, and personal growth); The Secret Agent (1907, one of Conrad’s political novels—its subjects are anarchism, espionage, and terrorism); and Victory (1915, a novel about the possibilities of salvation from detachment and isolation).
Mary Ann Wilson
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