Books: Sea Changes

JOSEPH CONRAD

by Roger Tennant

Atheneum;276 pages; $16.95

Most writers sail the oceans of their imaginations. Joseph Conrad navigated real oceans and lived a life full of adventure, conflict and drama. Perhaps that is the reason why his characters continue to haunt contemporary fiction and film, and scholars keep expanding the Conrad industry. Frederick Karl's monumental but plodding 1979 biography now holds the record for sheer size at 1,008 pages. A new book by the novelist's son John, Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered (Cambridge University Press), offers filial recollections and depicts the writer as a martinet, trying mightily to overcome his natural...

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