The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad
By John Stape
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400095865, 416pp.)
Publication Date: March 10, 2009
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In this authoritative, insightful biography, we see the modernist master Joseph Conrad as a man who consistently reinvented himself. Born in 1857 in the Ukraine, he left home early and worked as a sailor, traveling to the Far East and Africa, and eventually settled in England, beginning a precarious existence as a novelist. John Stape describes a man with a deep sense of otherness, a writer who wrote in his third language and whose fiction became the cornerstone of modernism. With his exceptional understanding of Conrad, Stape succeeds in casting a new light on the life of a man who remains one of the greatest writers of his, and our, time.
John Stape is Research Fellow at St. Mary's University College, London. He has taught at universities in Canada, France, and the Far East. He is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad and co-editor of two volumes of The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. He divides his time between Vancouver and London.
“Brilliantly concise and often witty. . . . Stape has pressed into one volume all the basic factual information anyone is likely to want to know about Conrad's life.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“A balanced, detailed, thoroughly researched book that is filled with fresh insights into this rather enigmatic man. . . . Terrific.”
“Stape flushes out many facts we've not seen before. He sets various records straight, debunking myths about Conrad.”
—The Weekly Standard
"Stape's desire to strip out the myths and not to add more is to be admired. . . . There [are] wonderful glimpses of [Conrad] through the eyes of his friends."
"Stape delivers a usefully compact . . . biography that draws on material not available to his predecessors."
—The Seattle Times