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Joseph Conrad - Man and Writer in the House of Darkness Joseph Conrad grew up in the Polish Ukraine a large fertile plain between Poland and Russia It was a divided nation with four languages four religions and a number of different classes A fraction of the Polish-speaking inhabitants including Conrads family belonged to the szlachta a hereditary class below the aristocracy which combined qualities of gentry and nobility They had the political power despite their impoverished state Conrads father Apollo Korzeniowski belonged to this class He studied for six years at St Petersburg University which he left before even earning a degree Apparently he was physically unattractive and unpleasant Conrads mother Eva Bobrowska was thirteen years younger than Apollo and the only surviving daughter in a family of six sons The couple met in 1847 She was drawn to his poetic temperament and passionate patriotism he admired her lively imagination and warm heart Although Evas family disapproved of the courtship they eventually realized that their daughter would remain unmarried if she could not have the man she loved The union took place in 1856 Instead of devoting himself to the management of his wifes agricultural estates Apollo pursued literary and political activities that brought in little money He wrote a variety of plays and social satires Although his works were little known they would have tremendous influence on his sonSh A year into the marriage Eva became pregnant with Joseph who was born in 1857 Conrad was actually a middle part of his name The Crimean War had just ended and hopes were high for Polish independence The author moved around quite a bit as child and never formed close friendships in Poland Music was one of his earliest memories and the image of his mother at the piano was a lasting one Family happiness was then shattered as Apollo was arrested on suspicions of involvement with revolutionary activities From then
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