The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad

A review of The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad by Rob Mason

The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad - A biography by John Stape

Born in 1857 into an aristocratic Polish family, he went to sea in 1874 in the French merchant service, which can hardly be a relaxing experience. He switched to the English merchant service in 1878, and qualified as a master mariner and took British nationality in 1886. He stayed at sea until 1894, both accepting discipline and administering it. In 1894, aged 36, Conrad reluctantly gave up the sea, partly because of poor health, partly due to unavailability of ships, and partly because he had become so fascinated with writing that he had decided on a literary career. His first novel, Almayer's Folly, set on the east coast of Borneo, was published in 1895. 

His son John Conrad, born in 1906, the younger of two sons pictured below with his father, practised as an architect, living mainly in Kent. His affectionate memoir of his father: Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered, appeared in 1981, and he died the next year, in October, at age 76