The Mirror of the Sea (Paperback)
|Author: Joseph Conrad|
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Landfall and Departure mark the rhythmical swing of a seaman's life and of a ship's career. From land to land is the most concise definition of a ship's earthly fate. (from the first line)
From the Publisher:
First published in 1906, The Mirror of the Sea was the first of Joseph Conrad's two autobiographical memoirs. Discussing it, he called the book "a very intimate revelation. . . . I have attempted here to lay bare with the unreserve of a last hour's confession the terms of my relation with the sea, which beginning mysteriously, like any great passion the inscrutable Gods send to mortals, went on unreasoning and invincible, surviving the test of disillusion, defying the disenchantment that lurks in every day of a strenuous life; went on full of love's delight and love's anguish, facing them in open-eyed exultation without bitterness and without repining, from the first hour to the last."
Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzenioski, son of Polish nationalists who died in exile for their political activities, was raised by relatives in various parts of Eastern Europe. He went to sea at 16, and spent 20 years at sea, working first on French merchant ships in the West Indies, then on English ships, where he learned the language and traveled to Latin America and Africa. He drew on these experiences for much of his fiction; in 1890 he was the commander of a ship that traveled up the Congo River, the inspiration for HEART OF DARKNESS. He began writing in 1892, on a voyage from England to Australia, and in 1895 he left the British merchant service to become a full-time writer. He settled in London and married an Englishwoman. Although English was not his native language, he is renowned for the subtlety and descriptiveness of his prose--despite the fact that he spoke the language all his life with a heavy accent. His model for the writing of fiction was Henry James, whom he addressed as "cher ma?tre." Conrad died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 67. His epitaph, taken from Spenser's THE FAERIE QUEENE, reads: "Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas, /Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please."
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