Joseph Conrad

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  • ISBN 9781108060943 


Determined not to write a biography about his friend Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) in the usual dry style, Ford Madox Ford (1873–1939) instead produced a novel. Like his fictional narrators, he has an imperfect memory: he places the beginning of their acquaintance several years after they first collaborated, and skims over their later acrimony. But in the place of verifiable facts is a wealth of vivid detail. Ford describes Conrad's remarkably long-eared horse, his haphazard use of adverbs and their fraught collaboration over their second joint novel, Romance, during which Ford's carefully unexciting style provoked the adventure-loving Conrad to depression. Despite inaccuracies, Ford's impressionistic portrayal of Conrad as an elegant, likeable swindler and 'beautiful genius' strikes a far richer chord than a purely historical account. First published in 1924, just after Conrad's death, this work remains a striking example of creative non-fiction, instructive for scholars and students of English literature.

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