Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Horror, The Horror

Today's 104th hero is the fellow on the right, one Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski otherwise known as Joseph Conrad born this day 1857 in Berdyczów, Ukraine. Keeping in line with the theme of yesterday's post, I have attached a photo of Mr. Marlon Brando playing Colonel Kurtz in the movie version of The Heart of Darkness (i.e. Apocalypse Now). His father was a politically active writer of plays, and managed to get him and his family exiled to some wasteland 300 miles north of Moscow, and this rough climate helped led him to being an orphan by the age of eleven. By the age of 16 he was on his way to the south of France to become a seaman. It was that life of adventure that lead to voyages all over the world, and a failed love affair that led to a suicide attempt in 1878. It was in 1886 that he gained his British citizenship, and changed his name to Joseph Conrad. His most well known work "The Heart of Darkness" is based upon his own experiences of captaining a riverboat in the Congo Free State. In 1894, at the age of 36, he gave up the seafaring life to embark on his career as a writer. At first his success was limited, and his work gained a bit of a lightweight reputation, but eventually he became recognized for what he was, a master of prose. So it is for that prose style that made him one of the most popular writer's in his day (in English, his third language), and for the "horror" that inspired such a great book, and awesome film that Joseph Conrad (December 3rd, 1857-August 3rd, 1924, at the age of 66 of a heart attack), you are my hero of the day.

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