Józef Teodor Konrad, also known as Joseph Conrad was born on December 3, 1857. He spent most of his childhood in Poland. Prior to becoming a writer, Conrad was a Seaman for the French and British merchant marines. He spent twenty years in the merchant navy.

Conrad wrote many novels like Heart of Darkness, The Secret Agent and Lord Jim, and various short stories. The experience he acquired ( he visited India, Africa, Austria) would later help him in his writing career, thus allowing him to deal with themes such as experience, nature, the duality good vs evil in novels such as Lord Jim or Heart of Darkness.

Joseph Conrad has marked the English literature and he is considered as one of the greatest English writers. His writing style, vision and  was unique  and he inspired great writers such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

Read our collection of Joseph Conrad’s quotes to understand the writer and his vision of the world.

Only in men’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.


The scrupulous and the just, the noble, humane, and devoted natures; the unselfish and the intelligent may begin a movement – but it passes away from them. They are not the leaders of a revolution. They are its victims.


The last thing a woman will consent to discover in a man whom she loves, or on whom she simply depends, is want of courage.


The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.


The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.


Some great men owe most of their greatness to the ability of detecting in those they destine for their tools the exact quality of strength that matters for their work.


Nations it may be have fashioned their Governments, but the Governments have paid them back in the same coin.


Perhaps life is just that… a dream and a fear.


It is to be remarked that a good many people are born curiously unfitted for the fate waiting them on this earth.


You shall judge a man by his foes as well as by his friends.


It is respectable to have no illusions, and safe, and profitable and dull.


The sea – this truth must be confessed – has no generosity. No display of manly qualities – courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness – has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power.


Resignation, not mystic, not detached, but resignation open-eyed, conscious, and informed by love, is the only one of our feelings for which it is impossible to become a sham.


The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.


There are men here and there to whom the whole of life is like an after-dinner hour with a cigar; easy, pleasant, empty, perhaps enlivened by some fable of strife to be forgotten – before the end is told – even if there happens to be any end to it.


There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.


They talk of a man betraying his country, his friends, his sweetheart. There must be a moral bond first. All a man can betray is his conscience.


This magnificent butterfly finds a little heap of dirt and sits still on it; but man will never on his heap of mud keep still.


To a teacher of languages there comes a time when the world is but a place of many words and man appears a mere talking animal not much more wonderful than a parrot.


To have his path made clear for him is the aspiration of every human being in our beclouded and tempestuous existence.


Truth of a modest sort I can promise you, and also sincerity. That complete, praiseworthy sincerity which, while it delivers one into the hands of one’s enemies, is as likely as not to embroil one with one’s friends.


Who knows what true loneliness is – not the conventional word but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion.


Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love – and to put its trust in life.


You can’t, in sound morals, condemn a man for taking care of his own integrity. It is his clear duty.


It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.


Any work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line.


Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality.


As in political so in literary action a man wins friends for himself mostly by the passion of his prejudices and the consistent narrowness of his outlook.


A caricature is putting the face of a joke on the body of a truth.


A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea. If he tries to climb out into the air as inexperienced people endeavor to do, he drowns.


A man’s most open actions have a secret side to them.


A man’s real life is that accorded to him in the thoughts of other men by reason of respect or natural love.


A modern fleet of ships does not so much make use of the sea as exploit a highway.


A word carries far, very far, deals destruction through time as the bullets go flying through space.


Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions.


All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.


As to honor – you know – it’s a very fine mediaeval inheritance which women never got hold of. It wasn’t theirs.


An artist is a man of action, whether he creates a personality, invents an expedient, or finds the issue of a complicated situation.


It is a maudlin and indecent verity that comes out through the strength of wine.


Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.


Criticism, that fine flower of personal expression in the garden of letters.


I don’t like work… but I like what is in work – the chance to find yourself. Your own reality – for yourself, not for others – which no other man can ever know.


In order to move others deeply we must deliberately allow ourselves to be carried away beyond the bounds of our normal sensibility.


I had ambition not only to go farther than any man had ever been before, but as far as it was possible for a man to go.


Don’t you forget what’s divine in the Russian soul and that’s resignation.


How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a specter through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by its spectral throat?


History repeats itself, but the special call of an art which has passed away is never reproduced. It is as utterly gone out of the world as the song of a destroyed wild bird.


He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.


Going home must be like going to render an account.


For all that has been said of the love that certain natures (on shore) have professed for it, for all the celebrations it has been the object of in prose and song, the sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.


Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it.


Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength; and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life.


Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.


I take it that what all men are really after is some form or perhaps only some formula of peace.


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