"Joseph Conrad: Interviews and Recollections paints a vivid picture of this paradoxically austere yet engaging literary figure. The volume is both informative and well edited. Ray is to be commended not only for assembling these disparate and out-of-the-way pieces, but for annotating them sensibly and thoroughly."—English Literature in Transition
This volume of interviews and recollections shows Joseph Conrad's complex and exotic personality as it was remembered by an eclectic array of friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Impressions are recorded from such vastly different individuals as his fellow writers, Lawrence of Arabia, and a regular at his local pub, all of which combine to give a modern reader a sense of the veritable zoo of characters bounding off Conrad as he pursued his lonely career.
The sixty recollections in this volume reveal some of the many facets of this brilliant and enigmatic character: Conrad the adventurer and the recluse, the Polish gallant and the neurotic modernist, the Edwardian country gentleman and the penniless beggar. Like Kurtz in darkest Africa surrounded by severed heads, the "blank" of Conrad defies interpretation. As this collection aptly demonstrates, Conrad must be constructed afresh by each person who meets him.
For anyone interested in Conrad or in the construction of a literary life, this book will be engaging reading.