Conrad, whose birth name was Jozef Teodor Honrad Nalecz Korzenlowiski was born the 3rd December in 1857 in Russian-controlled Poland, when Conrad was four, the family was deported to Vologda, in Northern Russia, far from the center of political activity. Soon after, Conrad's mother died from tuberculosis in 1865. As a consequence, his father degenerated into what Conrad called “Mysticism touched with despair”.
At that time Conrad read Polish, French and British authors as Scott and Dickens. At the age of twelve his father also died of tuberculosis in 1869. Conrad attended school in Cracow and then, he was sent to Switzerland.
At the age of sixteen, Conrad left for Marseilles, France, where he had distant relatives, and joined the French merchant marine. Over the next twenty years, he gained the experience that supplied the material of his fictions which is often autobiographical.
In 1973, during his vacations in Western Europe, Conrad saw the sea for the first time. In the autumn of 1874 Conrad went to Marseilles, where he entered the French marine service.
For the next twenty years, Conrad led a successful career as a ship's officer. He also became seaman in the British merchant marine. Though he knew only a few words of English, he quickly learned English by listening and talking to his British shipmates. By his late twenties, he had become a British citizen and he had risen to the rank of captain. A few years later, he began his first novel: Almayer's Folly.
One of the strangest voyages was that into Africa. When he was a child he declared: “when I grow up I shall go there “. Thus, at the age of thirty-two he spent four months on the Congo River, a traumatic experience later told in one of his greatest nouvelles Heart of Darkness. This voyage altered him psychologically, spiritually, even physically.
At the age of thirty-eight he married a twenty-two years old Jessie George with whom he had two sons. Finally, he died in August 3rd, 1924 of a heart attack.
ü Almayer's Folly- 1895
ü An Oucast of the Islands.- 1896
ü Gaspar Ruiz.- 1905
ü Chance.- 1913
ü Heart of Darkness. -1899
ü Lord Jim.- 1900
ü Nostromo.- 1904
ü Romance.- 1903
ü The Arrow of Gold.- 1919
ü The Inheritors.- 1901
ü The Rescue.- 1920
ü The Secret Agent.- 1907
ü Under Western Eyes.- 1911
ü A Personal Record.- 1908/09
ü Notes on Life and Letters.- 1921
ü The Mirror of the Sea.- 1906
Among his short stories we can mention:
ü “Amy Foster”.- 1901
ü “An Anarchist”.- 1905
ü “An Outpost of Progress”.- 1896
Impressionism in Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness reflects the influence of Impressionism.
Impressionism is a movement that developed in France during the early 19th and 20th centuries. An impressionistic painting is one characterized by trying to record accurately and objectively the visual realities by means of light and colour.
According to impressionists, the object portrayed is not as important as it really is, but as appear to us. The greatest importance to feelings and emotions brings the idea that we can perceive reality in different ways. What they try to reproduce is the visual sensation at a given moment and at given space.
Some general characteristics of impressionism in painting are:
ü Efforts to produce immediate visual impressions as registered on the retina. Painters abandoned the use of grays and blacks in shadows as inaccurate ad use complementary colours instead
ü The impressionists extended their new techniques to depict landscapes, trees, houses and even urban street scenes and railroad stations.
In literature, influenced by the impressionistic art movement, many writers adopted a style that relied on associations. Impressionistic literature can be defined as when an author centers his attention on the character's mental life such as the character's impressions, feelings, sensations and emotions, rather than trying to interpret them. In this style of writing characters, scenes, or actions are described from a subjective point of view of reality.
Authors such as Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway) and Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness) are the foremost creators of the type. These novels are the finest example of a genre which is not easy comprehensible.