With some reluctant guidance from an uncle, Conrad went to sea at 16 — and encountered the worlds that inspired some of his best fiction: He published his first novel in Late marriage was followed by late fatherhood sons born in and His wife was crippled by knee trouble. The kids kept getting sick. Expenses kept mounting, and his inability to keep to a budget reduced him to begging from friends again and again.
Rider Haggard; more contact between Conrad and the early s gay demimonde than other biographers have remarked upon friendships and acquaintances, not liaisons ; brief meetings with pianist Artur Rubinstein and writer T.
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Many of his friendships were literary. The most notorious was with Ford Madox Ford, with whom he collaborated the works produced jointly were deplorable, but released Conrad from writer's block: That friendship broke down: But Conrad, though often prickly and even violent-tempered when suffering from gout, had a gift for making friends. None of his friendships staved off the loneliness of despair.
Conrad's acute awareness of things that cannot be said - which excited the admiration of early Modernists - is bound up with unhappiness so deep as to be incommunicable. He suffered from 'long fits of depression, that in a lunatic asylum would be called madness.
I do not know what it is. It springs from nothing.
It lasts an hour or a day, and when it departs it leaves a fear. John Stape's account of Conrad's life underplays the severity of these attacks, taking them 'with a pinch of salt'.
It is, indeed, in his evocation of Conrad's inward life that Stape falls short. This is partly due to scrupulousness.
The guarded life of of Joseph Conrad - Telegraph
Stape sees 'debunking myths' as the chief role of the biographer: But speculation is inextricably entwined with the sympathetic imagination. The best biographies inevitably speculate, while making it plain where they do so: Stape's narrative is apt to founder in the dusty debris of dismantled myths. The reader who does not know of Conrad's youthful attempt at suicide will here first learn of it indirectly:
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