CONRAD, JOSEPH

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CONRAD, JOSEPH - Literary Letter Commenting on Kipling's 'Didactic Purpose'
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CONRAD, JOSEPH - Literary Letter Commenting on Kipling's 'Didactic Purpose'

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“I have no didactic purpose in my writings, as for instance Mr. Kipling has…”

 

CONRAD, JOSEPH. (1857-1924). Polish-born, British novelist; author of Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim as well as many other adventure tales. TLS. With holograph closing. (“very faithfully yours, Joseph Conrad”). 1p. 8vo. Bishopsbourne, July 14, 1921. Written on his personal Oswalds stationery to A.P. Hatton, editor of the weekly magazine British Legion.

 

In reference to your letter of the 7th, I really don’t think there are any stories that would be suitable for the ‘British Legion’, both on account of length and subject, which have no direct connection with the aims and ideas it is your paper’s mission to propagate. I have no didactic purpose in my writings, as for instance Mr. Kipling has.

 

As a recognition of your patriotic purpose and a sign of most sincere goodwill, I am sending you a copy of my latest published work. When you find leisure to look through it you may find amongst the papers composing it and especially those entitled ‘Tradition’ and ‘Confidence’ paragraphs and passages which you may perhaps like to print either separately or combined together, as an expression of views or sentiments which you may well believe are identical with yours and which you are at liberty to use in the way you think best. At any rate I hope you will give the volume a place on your shelves and believe me [in holograph] very sincerely yours…”

 

At age 17, Joseph Conrad left his native Poland to spend the next twenty years as a seaman on French and British ships, learning French and English in the process. He began to write during this period and his adventures became the source for such novels as Almayer’s Folly, Lord Jim, Typhoon, andHeart of Darkness, as well as numerous short stories and memoirs. Due to poor health, Conrad temporarily retired from his seafaring adventures in 1889, giving it up entirely after 1894 to pursue a career of writing, solely in English. Considered one of the language’s greatest prose stylists, Conrad was a careful and subtle author who brought a new sensibility to modern English literature, one in which the perfection of language – its meaning and form – remained the author’s highest goal.

 

Our letter mentions Conrad’s contemporary, English author and Nobel Prize winner Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), whose children’s stories, including The Jungle Book, Just So Stories and Captains Courageous, are considered classics. Kipling spent his early childhood in Bombay and, after returning to India from England, was an editor with Lahore’s Civil and Military Gazette. An inveterate traveler, Kipling’s works are, like those of Conrad, adventure tales. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907 “in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author.”

 

The Royal British Legion was established in 1921 to advocate for military veterans and combined several organizations including the Comrades of the Great War, the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers and the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers. Hatton edited the Legion’s weekly magazine from July to October 1921 during which time he published, on July 8th, Kipling’s poem “The Return” and, on August 12, Conrad’s essay “Tradition,” which had been previously printed in 1919 and appeared in his Memoirs, Letters and Articles alongside “Confidence” (which first appeared in 1920).

 

Published in The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, volume 7. Boldly signed with some matte burn and light creasing. In very good condition.

 

Item #20349


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