Joseph Conrad was born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in the Russian-dominated Ukraine in 1857, only becoming an adopted Englishman in 1886. His lifetime spanned the period when the world was dominated by the expansion of Europe, and intense and destructive nationalism - a nationalism that culminated in the First World War.
Conrad, who adopted English as his language and could have easily have written novels in French or Polish, viewed the world changes through which he lived with the deep and instinctual intelligence of the artist.
Heart of Darkness is his deepest and most devastating short masterpiece, T.S. Eliot, wanting to capture, the early twenty-century angst which was the theme of his poem, The Waste Land (1922), chose as its epigram the cry of this story's central, and sinister, figure: 'The horror, the horror!'
A.N. Wilson. Foreword, Heart of Darkness, Hesperus Classics, London, 2002.
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