Philip Hensher

Nothing Is Explained

Joseph Conrad: A Biography

By Jeffrey Meyers

John Murray 428pp £20 order from our bookshop

Conrad is in the fortunate position of having, for all purposes, no private existence. The great shaping influences on his life are public events and historical movements. The childhood in the vacuum of Poland, the youthful smuggling of arms for the Carlists, disillusionment in the Belgian Congo are happenings not just for a biographer but for a historian. They have an air of importance in themselves, which leaves Conrad’s character and life trailing behind in the glamour stakes.

Sara Stewart


Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Thomas Hardy's phrenologist tells him he will 'lead to no good' in a new book about his life in London ,
    • John Knox said that crowning a woman was akin to putting ‘a saddle upon the back of an unruly cow’. Tell that to Catherine de'Medici...,
    • RT : I 💕💕 the Pulpit article in September's about rereading books at different times of life.,
    • Interesting thread by Aki there on inclusivity in publishing. (Read her tweets for full thread.),
    • RT : A conference about inclusivity in publishing is a fantastic idea, but doesn't £200 seem a short-sighted undermining of, well, inclusivity?,
    • Calling all friends of bulbous salutations & the elfin grot: lots of entries to have already come in, but my door’s still open...,