Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad

There are 72 comments on the BIO story from Dec 2, 2011, titled Joseph Conrad. In it, BIO reports that:

English novelist and short-story writer Joseph Conrad's works include the novels Lord Jim, Nostromo and The Secret Agent and the story "Heart of Darkness". Joseph Conrad.

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Phillip Church

Calgary, Canada

#1 Dec 4, 2011
To clarify matters of considerable complexity: although Conrad is almost always referred to as ‘Polish’, at the time this was an ethno-linguistic and cultural, not a political, identity. Although he did live for part of his childhood and youth on the territory of the present-day nation-state of Poland, he was born and spent most of his early years and some of his adolescence in what today is Ukraine and was, until 1919, part of the Russian Empire. Until he adopted British nationality and petitioned for release from Russian nationality, he was a subject of the Tsar and had lived in the Austro-Hungarian and in the Russian Empires, but not in ‘Poland’, which at the time, having no political existence, was absent from the map of Europe.

Conrad’s birth in a predominantly Jewish town was to give rise to a rumour that he himself was Jewish, one he vigorously denied but with no hint of racial prejudice:‘Had I been an Israelite I would never have denied being a member of a race occupying such a unique place in the religious history of mankind.’ The town, in any event, played only a small role in his life, since his parents left it when he was an infant; on the other hand, it explains a sense of marginality that is often given expression in his writings and formed part of his psychology. A degree of mystery long persisted about the precise location of his birth, partly owing to his own misleading statements. His baptismal certificate indicates not his birthplace but the location of his baptism, or rather two baptisms, the first in a private ceremony performed in Zhitomir, a nearby town, by a priest of the Carmelite order belonging to Berdichev’s monastery, and the second in Berdichev’s parish church. The two baptisms suggest that there were fears for his life. When completing his British naturalisation papers, Conrad gave Zhitomir as his birthplace, and biographers later variously proposed Ivankivci and Terechowa, respectively south-east and south of Berdichev.A true Englishman to the core, with an eastern twist, I dare say.... Harumph.... Constance, dear... where is my smoking jacket ?
Lukashenko is Dr Phil

Finland

#2 Dec 4, 2011
Conrad who? Ah another carpet salesman from Odessa. Is he as dumb and ugly as you are.
Kubek

Poznan, Poland

#3 Dec 4, 2011
Phillip Church wrote:
To clarify matters of considerable complexity: although Conrad is almost always referred to as ‘Polish’, at the time this was an ethno-linguistic and cultural, not a political, identity. Although he did live for part of his childhood and youth on the territory of the present-day nation-state of Poland, he was born and spent most of his early years and some of his adolescence in what today is Ukraine and was, until 1919, part of the Russian Empire. Until he adopted British nationality and petitioned for release from Russian nationality, he was a subject of the Tsar and had lived in the Austro-Hungarian and in the Russian Empires, but not in ‘Poland’, which at the time, having no political existence, was absent from the map of Europe.
Conrad’s birth in a predominantly Jewish town was to give rise to a rumour that he himself was Jewish, one he vigorously denied but with no hint of racial prejudice:‘Had I been an Israelite I would never have denied being a member of a race occupying such a unique place in the religious history of mankind.’ The town, in any event, played only a small role in his life, since his parents left it when he was an infant; on the other hand, it explains a sense of marginality that is often given expression in his writings and formed part of his psychology. A degree of mystery long persisted about the precise location of his birth, partly owing to his own misleading statements. His baptismal certificate indicates not his birthplace but the location of his baptism, or rather two baptisms, the first in a private ceremony performed in Zhitomir, a nearby town, by a priest of the Carmelite order belonging to Berdichev’s monastery, and the second in Berdichev’s parish church. The two baptisms suggest that there were fears for his life. When completing his British naturalisation papers, Conrad gave Zhitomir as his birthplace, and biographers later variously proposed Ivankivci and Terechowa, respectively south-east and south of Berdichev.A true Englishman to the core, with an eastern twist, I dare say.... Harumph.... Constance, dear... where is my smoking jacket ?
"(...) Neither my nationality nor our common surname have I denied (...) It is clearly known that I am a Pole, and that Jozef Konrad are two baptismal names of mine, the latter I use as my surname, so my [original - Kubek] surname is not distorted by foreign mouth, which I cannot endure. It does not seem to me that I have been unfaithful to the country because of the fact that I have demonstrated the British that a nobleman from Ukraine can be as good a sailor as they are and have something to say to them in their own language. The recognition that I have won I judge just from this point of view and offer it in a silent tribute where it belongs".
http://tinyurl.com/827zjqx

He's usually referred as Jozef Konrad or Jozef Konrad Korzeniowski in Poland. I bet majority of Brits and English-speaking world doesn't know and/or care about his origins (a kind of a trait of the so called Anglo-Saxon world), although he's been a popular author there. Much more than in Poland, I guess, where he's been a known and read author, but not there among the greats of our literature. "Lord Jim" at least was a secondary school literature class reading as far as I can remember, and at that time I didn't enjoy it much. Not the case when I got to "Almayer's Folly" and a couple of his novels some time later, inspite of the fact they are not that easy reads in my opinion.
ronan

UK

#4 Dec 4, 2011
Kubek wrote:
<quoted text>

He's usually referred as Jozef Konrad or Jozef Konrad Korzeniowski in Poland. I bet majority of Brits and English-speaking world doesn't know and/or care about his origins (a kind of a trait of the so called Anglo-Saxon world), although he's been a popular author there.
In Britain, we are proud to accept and integrate people of intellectual value, regardless of their origins. Josef Konrad was surely one of them.
Kubek

Poznan, Poland

#5 Dec 4, 2011
ronan wrote:
<quoted text>
In Britain, we are proud to accept and integrate people of intellectual value, regardless of their origins. Josef Konrad was surely one of them.
And we accept the fact that his literary legacy lies with the English literature first and foremost. Still, the Anglo-Saxon culture has been known to have a habit of being sort of indifferent and somehow distanced to foreign - simply put, it basically hasn't been giving a damn nor taking much real interest in such matters.
ronan

UK

#6 Dec 4, 2011
Kubek wrote:
<quoted text>
And we accept the fact that his literary legacy lies with the English literature first and foremost. Still, the Anglo-Saxon culture has been known to have a habit of being sort of indifferent and somehow distanced to foreign - simply put, it basically hasn't been giving a damn nor taking much real interest in such matters.
I read the book "Lord Jim" at school and it made a great impression on me then. Very British, I thought. Later I saw the film with Peter o'Toole, years before I learnt that Conrad wasn't British by birth. That came as a shock!
For me, his writting looked as British as Kipling's.

In fact, many East European thrived as artists, writers, composers and else in the Anglo-Saxon world without the public knowing much about it.
Hollywood and the American film industry was created by East Europeans, for example.
Phillip Church

Calgary, Canada

#7 Dec 4, 2011
Yes,the award winning film " Apocalypse Now " is a Vietnam - era story based on the Conrad novel, " Heart of Darkness ". It describes a man that has gone mad with power and has to be eliminated by the state. Conrad clearly foretold the war madness of the 20th century. Conrad has taken the best writing elements of Tolstoy and Gogol and linked them to a common story telling style, reminiscent of Charles Dickens.That makes Conrad a literary genius.
AbeUG

Haskell, NJ

#8 Dec 4, 2011
I read in college, Joseph Conrad's book "Heart of Darkness" and liked it.

I thought the movie "Apocalypse Now" was a cool movie and I was intrigued that the movie was derived from Conrad's book "Heart of Darkness".
Boris Khuyovsky

Ardrossan, Canada

#9 Dec 5, 2011
Joseph Conrad was Polish on his fathers side and Ruthenian - Ukrainian on his mother's side. In any event, he had great insight into the dark side of society.
Kubek

Poznan, Poland

#10 Dec 5, 2011
ronan wrote:
<quoted text>
I read the book "Lord Jim" at school and it made a great impression on me then. Very British, I thought. Later I saw the film with Peter o'Toole, years before I learnt that Conrad wasn't British by birth. That came as a shock!
For me, his writting looked as British as Kipling's.

In fact, many East European thrived as artists, writers, composers and else in the Anglo-Saxon world without the public knowing much about it.
Hollywood and the American film industry was created by East Europeans, for example.
I agree, his writing looked and smelled British :) We acknowledge that – now, the quote I posted above was his indirect answer to contemporary criticism from Polish writers and intelectuals, i.a. Eliza Orzeszkowa. In the link I attached it says he was accused of being not loyal to Poland because of writing in English, but the whole truth was not told. The Polish writers of his generation were very patriotic and actively involved in betterment of Polish society (not only with their writing), preaching good and useful phenomena and attitudes, and condemning and pointing at the bad in the country – that’s what their works were about. Conrad didn’t become a part of this movement, he took on themes and problems foreign to its point of view – that’s why the condemnation from these Polish fellow writers.

Yes, and it should be noted that the Eastern Europeans that created Hollywood and the American film industry were almost exclusively Jews. And them and the natives were basically two different stories there.
Kubek

Poznan, Poland

#11 Dec 5, 2011
Boris Khuyovsky wrote:
Joseph Conrad was Polish on his fathers side and Ruthenian - Ukrainian on his mother's side. In any event, he had great insight into the dark side of society.
And how do we know his mother was Ruthenian? Not that is not possible, but is there any evidence? Her name (Ewa) and surname (Bobrowska), for one, do not indicate a Ruthenian.
Boris Khuyovsky

Edmonton, Canada

#12 Dec 5, 2011
Kubek wrote:
<quoted text>
And how do we know his mother was Ruthenian? Not that is not possible, but is there any evidence? Her name (Ewa) and surname (Bobrowska), for one, do not indicate a Ruthenian.
from Suwalki Guberniya, Poland
Sebastian from Poland : There are many jewish families in Argentina with surname BOBROWSKI.( Gewish Genetics , Chapter 6)
Daniel fropm Israel: In the Jewish cemetery of La Tablada, Buenos Aires, is buried hundreds of people with this surname of Bobrowski. Conrad's mother was a converted ukrainian -ruthenian jew from a rich merchant family, who converted to christianity and married into the Polish Sczhlacta nobility and brought her financial wealth with her. Polish nobility usually became poor, as they were poor in finacial sense so they married up ( financially speaking).Berdichev was a 100% jewish town, in Ukraine for 500 years, although about half of the jews there became " officially christian", for business and political reasons.
AbeUG

Wayne, NJ

#13 Dec 5, 2011
Boris Khuyovsky wrote:
<quoted text>from Suwalki Guberniya, Poland
Sebastian from Poland : There are many jewish families in Argentina with surname BOBROWSKI.( Gewish Genetics , Chapter 6)
Daniel fropm Israel: In the Jewish cemetery of La Tablada, Buenos Aires, is buried hundreds of people with this surname of Bobrowski. Conrad's mother was a converted ukrainian -ruthenian jew from a rich merchant family, who converted to christianity and married into the Polish Sczhlacta nobility and brought her financial wealth with her. Polish nobility usually became poor, as they were poor in finacial sense so they married up ( financially speaking).Berdichev was a 100% jewish town, in Ukraine for 500 years, although about half of the jews there became " officially christian", for business and political reasons.
Boy the way you sound, you make it look like half of Poland and Ukraine were Jewish. LOL I didn't know there were so many Jews. LOL

Do you have any links to what you say?

Joseph Conrad's father and mother were both known to be staunch fighters of Polish nationalism from what I have read.

Most people who are staunch fighters of a given nation are of that nation's ancestry. Just like many of us bloggers on these national forums :)
Kubek

Poznan, Poland

#14 Dec 5, 2011
Boris Khuyovsky wrote:
<quoted text>from Suwalki Guberniya, Poland
Sebastian from Poland : There are many jewish families in Argentina with surname BOBROWSKI.( Gewish Genetics , Chapter 6)
Daniel fropm Israel: In the Jewish cemetery of La Tablada, Buenos Aires, is buried hundreds of people with this surname of Bobrowski. Conrad's mother was a converted ukrainian -ruthenian jew from a rich merchant family, who converted to christianity and married into the Polish Sczhlacta nobility and brought her financial wealth with her. Polish nobility usually became poor, as they were poor in finacial sense so they married up ( financially speaking).Berdichev was a 100% jewish town, in Ukraine for 500 years, although about half of the jews there became " officially christian", for business and political reasons.
Yes, that's a possibility, but are there any hard proofs? With time Jews have been taking or have been given surnames typical for hosting countries, all kinds of them. I've read of the house of Sanguszko when at one time conflicted with the house of the Radziwills, gave one Jewish family who was serving them the surname of Radziwill, just to piss those off. Now, Radziwill, for few reasons - both good and bad, was perhaps the most reknown and influencial magnate house of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in its history, mind. So nothing particular there unless it's proven.
http://tinyurl.com/cf3oryu
http://tinyurl.com/ctzlq9t
I don’t think that Berdyczow was a strictly Jewish town for 500 years or so either. I read that it was a town with significant Jewish populace and even became important to them for religious reasons in time. The town held some administrative importance too and for a long time there were Orthodox and Catholic churches there, monasteries and even a sanctuary.
Philip Church

Calgary, Canada

#15 Dec 5, 2011
There is no one more zealous than a convert.....Michel de Montaigne.
Philip Church

Calgary, Canada

#16 Dec 6, 2011
Why is this jewish conversion business such a big mystery here ? Are people not informed on the russian - ukrainian blogs? It is an accepted fact in England. Even Queen Elizabeth has a Moishe , Golda or two in her background.She says it herself.In east Europe, richer and more socially mobile jews became poles or ukrainians or russians as soon as they could. Only the poor uneducated jews remained poor and ghettoized for too long. No one really wanted to be a jew, so they married christian girls 'en masse' if they could too. They still do. Conversion was a way out of the jewish ghetto and the slavery of their religious lives. Is this really a mystery in this day and age to you folks ? So yeah, there was a lot of racial mixing in East Europe.Probably half the people are part jewish somewhere along the line. The ethnic categories are very, very false. Miscegenation is why you get such smart poles, ukes and russkis.... and irish too here. Harumph... get me a glass of scotch Gwendolyne my dear.
Kubek

Poznan, Poland

#17 Dec 6, 2011
Philip Church wrote:
Why is this jewish conversion business such a big mystery here ? Are people not informed on the russian - ukrainian blogs? It is an accepted fact in England. Even Queen Elizabeth has a Moishe , Golda or two in her background.She says it herself.In east Europe, richer and more socially mobile jews became poles or ukrainians or russians as soon as they could. Only the poor uneducated jews remained poor and ghettoized for too long. No one really wanted to be a jew, so they married christian girls 'en masse' if they could too. They still do. Conversion was a way out of the jewish ghetto and the slavery of their religious lives. Is this really a mystery in this day and age to you folks ? So yeah, there was a lot of racial mixing in East Europe.Probably half the people are part jewish somewhere along the line. The ethnic categories are very, very false.

Miscegenation is why you get such smart poles, ukes and russkis.... and irish too here. Harumph... get me a glass of scotch Gwendolyne my dear.
Actually, the Jews wanted to be the Jews in the past and from their point of view it was better for them to not convert: this way they were not losing their identity and as such, finding their opportunities better. Only a small part of the Jewry went that convertion path and it still wasn't like they became an integral part of their new environment spiritually and culturally all of a sudden - they kept a lot of their Jewishness in them and were able to transfer it onto their new society (still do). I'm talking about the situation of Poland here until the WW2, of course.

They are not any smarter than any of these four from the get-go, in fact they generally were not known around as the quickest of cats in the past. But look what position they've got now and how they've valued their own education.
Warrior Poet UG X

Eugene, OR

#18 Dec 6, 2011
What does this really hve to do with anything? He was a great writer and I enjoyed his works. I really don't care if he was Eastern European, British,or Martian. It is irrelevant unless you are trying to bolster your shaky ego by claiming him for your own.

As far as Hollywood being creted by Estern Europeans-- balderdash. I grew up around the industry. By working at a studio when in College I becme a member of one of the few "three generation" families in the industry. It is true that there were a good number of Eastern Europeans in the industry, both in front of and behind the cmera: Kirk Douglas, Natalie Wood (who I went to school with in MIddle and HIgh School), Dmitri Tiomkin to name just a few. It is also true that there were many people from other regions who contributed to the growth of the industry. Stop trying to reduce your feeling of inferiority.

As to the question of Jewish or not-- who cares. Who your ancestors were is not nearly as important as who and what YOU are. I know, and have known many wonderful Jewish people, both in and out of the industry. Take your Anti-Semitism and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. Rational people don't have time for such twaddle.
Boris Khuyovsky

Edmonton, Canada

#19 Dec 7, 2011
Well said. People that think in ethnic labels are boring and stupid .That is what I say..... no one really knows anything about their families origins for more than a hundred years back or so .... all we really have and understand is what a person is now and what he or she does and says and their character and intellect. Now if Lucy and Puky could understand that....
Warrior Poet UG X

Idanha, OR

#20 Dec 8, 2011
It is not likely to happen. Their small minds are already made up and they will not be confused by silly things like new ideas or facts.

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