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Joseph Conrad is widely recognized as one of the greatest writers of the early twentieth century. Robert Hampson traces Conrad’s life from his childhood in a Russian penal colony, through his early manhood in Marseille and his years in the British Merchant Navy, to his career as a novelist. This critical biography describes how these experiences inspired Conrad’s work, from his early Malay novels to his best-known work, Heart of Darkness. Hampson also discusses Conrad’s important relations with other writers, in particular Ford Madox Ford, as well as his late-life political engagements and his relationships with women. Featuring new interpretations of all of Conrad’s major works, this is an original interpretation of Conrad’s life of writing.