December 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Joseph Conrad


“HAVEN’T YOU HEARD OF THE DUEL GOING ON EVER SINCE 1801?” Well, it’s epic and keeps gathering momentum now that we’ve published The Duel by Joseph Conrad as part of our five-book series. Back in 2007, we published Freya of the Seven Isles in the art of the novella series, which also features Pantone-friendly covers that design nerds tend to get really, really excited about. At Melville House, we get excited about our authors’ birthdays, which is why we’re celebrating Conrad’s a day early.

Jósef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski was born in what is now Ukraine on December 3rd, 1857 to Polish parents. When his father was convicted of revolutionary activities in support of Polish independence four years later, the family was exiled to a northern city in Russia. To make matters worse, both parents soon contracted Tuberculosis and died. Jósef joined the French Merchant Marines at the tender age of 16, spending the next two decades sailing the world. At 36, he settled down in London, changed his name to Joseph Conrad, and married an Englishwoman named Jessie George. At which point, he began to write stories based on his seafaring life, resulting in novels such as Lord Jim and Nostromo, and novellas such as Heart of Darkness and Victory. In 1924, he died of a heart attack and was buried at Canterbury Cemetery, becoming Jósef Korzeniowski again.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Conrad.