Published to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad is a brilliant and highly readable biography of a literary figure of world-wide reputation.
Conrad' s impact has been so profound and far-reaching that, eighty years after his death, he remains an essential cultural reference point. Such phrases as " heart of darkness" and " The horror The horror " have entered the language, often cited without an awareness of their original contexts. His popular legacy extends to Latin American fiction, to the spy novel, to the terrorist and anarchist character, and to film. The writers he has influenced range from T. S. Eliot to William Faulkner to V. S. Naipaul and John Le Carre . For a writer of " difficult" fiction he has enjoyed a remarkably wide impact, yet as Marlow proclaims in Lord Jim of the figure whose story he tells, " he was one of us, " and so Conrad remains in fascinating ways.
Stape' s biography - an intimate portrait, including previously unpublished photographs - offers a Conrad for our times, a man with a deep sense of otherness, of multiple cultural identities and, writing in his third language, a working writer, whose novels and stories are a cornerstone of literary modernism and, indeed, of modernity itself.