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333 The publication of the fourth volume might be the appropriate time to ask the publishers to support an exhaustive analytical index for the seven volumes. No doubt the publishers and editors are already planning a comprehensive index of recipients' names, and that is essential, but the edition will be vastly more useful if the index also includes entries for characters, novels, poems, place names, and the like, as well as entries for abstractions and aesthetic matters. There are not, in fact, many points of general or aesthetic interest in the letters, but for the edition to be ultimately worth its editors' trouble and owners' cost it will need to be made convenient to use. Without an analytical index, the amount of dross in the letters will discourage nearly everyone but scholars obligated to scan for comments on subjects they may at the moment be working on. Dale Kramer University of Illinois, Urbana-Champai gn 5. A CONRAD BIOGRAPHY Zdzislaw Najder. Najder, Trans. $30.00 Joseph Conrad: A Chroni cle. Halina CarrollNew Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1983. The time has come when a major biography of the great Anglo-Polish thinker and writer, Joseph Conard, can be written. Heretofore there have been three major pioneering biographies. Gerard Jean-Aubry's Joseph Conrad: Li f e and Letters (1947) is valuable as an early work but not dependable because of the author's ingenuousness and lack of precision. Jocelyn Baines's Joseph Conrad: A_ Critical Biography (1960), the best biography before Najder's, deals inadequately with the Polish aspects of Conrad's life and is weak in analyzing Conrad's philosophical, social, political, and aesthetic opinions as expressed outside his fiction. Frederick R. Karl's Joseph Conrad : The Three Li ves, though important, is marred by long, vague, scarcely comprehensible passages. Professor Najder has now completed a major biography of his Polish subject, born Josef Theodor Konrad Korzeniowski. From the large background of his own life as a Pole in Poland, Najder brings much specific information about Conrad and his career, much of this being taken from his letters and private papers. Departing from the traditional treatment of Conrad's "memories" and "autobiographical" pieces, Najder provides a "chronicle" which emphasizes Conrad's life but also includes, when relevant, information about his works. As Edward W. Said has pointed out, Najder advances no theory of the kind often attached to a writer like Conrad — no idea that his work stems from a deep sense of guilt because he left Poland, no emphasis upon the "Polishness" of the author. Nor has Najder written a critical biography; instead, he concentrates upon shaping the plentiful facts of the man's life without unnecessary elaboration. Like Conrad, Najder is a Pole; like Conrad, too, 334 he is an exile from Poland. He is also a distinguished critic, essayist, and editor. His strong affinity with French and British culture and his great effort to continue writing in environments less than pertect--these things bind Najder to Conrad even if they do not essentially count for his specific achievement or his unique view of Conrad. Najder reinterprets the facts of Conrad's life with the kind of thoroughness that Conrad himself applied to his works and thereby adds an interesting and valuable new dimension that has not hitherto been supplied by any of Conrad's biographers. Although Najder does not pretend to have produced a critical book, he often supplies excellent material about Conrad and his works which aids in understanding them. When he wrote "Youth," for example, Conrad described his adventures on the Palesti ne, renamed the Judea, which he was later to call a "feat of memory" and "a record of experience." As usual, several things correspond with fact; several, however, do not. In this story, there is no documentary evidence of the collision with a steamship in Newcastle; the main character of "Youth" is four years younger than the youthful Koreniowski; there was one attempt, not several, to leave the port of Falmouth; and the ship did not steer for Java but toward the port of Muntok on Bangka Island. A more interesting discrepancy between the story and reality is found, though, in that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 333-335
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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