Polish writer Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born Teodor Józef Konrad Korzeniowski on this day in Russian-occupied Berdyczow, now in the Ukraine.
A merchant seaman and marine officer for 16 years, he traveled to places like Australia, Africa, South America, and the South Pacific Islands. From these journeys, he created the wonderful characters and themes in his books.
"I rather dream a novel than write it, for the dream of the work is always much more lovely than the reality of the thing in print," said Conrad, who was deeply loyal to his homeland.
With perseverance, he taught himself how to write in English and wrote his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895.
With powerful and poetic style, he captured his sea-faring adventures in Lord Jim: A Tale (1900) and The Shadow-Line (1917). His books examined the themes of life and death and good versus evil.
"All a man can betray is his conscience," he said.
A master at creating character and atmosphere with dazzling insights, his tales explored moral dilemmas that tested men's character in conditions of extreme danger and difficulty. His signature work, Heart of Darkness, about a European in the heart of the Congo jungle, inspired director Francis Ford Coppola's classic film, Apocalypse Now (1979).
In a tribute to the power of creativity, Conrad wrote, "Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life."
More Joseph CONRAD Quotations
Face it, whatever it is.