Thursday, January 3, 2013

Apocalypse Now!

Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski (aka: Joseph Conrad): The novelist who inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, George Orwell, Ernest Hemingway, and the movie Apocalypse Now.

Joseph Conrad was no ordinary English novelist. First of all, he was Polish, and didn't start learning English until his 20s. Also, he didn't fulfill his calling until he was around 40.

His father, who was a English and French literature translator, exposed Conrad to books. Writing so early on should have been an obvious choice for a career; however, he probably was distracted by being exiled to North Russia and his parents dying at the age of 11. 

After this horrendous turn of events, his uncle took him in. Though, Conrad was different than most boys. His health was always poor and he was failing every subject in school except geography. So his uncle decided to ditch the whole school thing and expose him to trades. At 13, he decided that he would become a sailor.

At 17, he went on his first sea voyage. He traveled to the Caribbean, West Indies, Haiti, Australia, Genoa, Naples... the world. Everything was going great besides the many near death experiences at sea and his attempted suicide at 20. No one is sure of the exact reason, but some speculate that it was because of a gambling debt, the duel he had to go through for his love, the arms smuggling plot he participated in, or maybe just because his life sucked. Whatever it was, thank goodness he survived!

Finally at 21 he started learning English. After many years of voyaging and adventures, he finally decided to give up the sea life (his health wouldn't let him sail anymore) and pursue his first love, writing. At 36, he wrote his first novel Almayer's Folley, the book Apocalypse Now is based on, and went on to write 16 more books, becoming one of the greatest "English" Novelist's of all time. 


Post a Comment