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Top quotes by Joseph Conrad on love, life, revolution, art, history and other things.

100 Top Quotes By Joseph Conrad, The Author Of Heart Of Darkness

Quick Facts

Famous As: Writer

Born On: December 3, 1857

Died On: August 3, 1924

Born In: Berdychiv

Died At Age: 66

Joseph Conrad was, by far, one of the most talented and skilled writers belonging to Polish-British ancestry. A great novelist, not many know the fact that Conrad was not fluent in English until in his twenties. Despite his poor spoken English abilities, he was a master of written art and a prose stylist. Conrad in his lifetime wrote some of the most popular novels in English language, ‘Lord Jim’, ‘Nostromo’, ‘The Secret Agent’, ‘Heart of Darkness’. His works were widely appreciated for their unique flavour and tinge. Conrad brought about non-English sensibilities into English literature. Before turning into a writer, he briefly worked as a mariner in the French and British merchant marines. His experience in sea shaped much of his work, almost all of which have a nautical setting and address profound themes of nature and existence. Conrad was a writer of complex skill and striking insight and had an intensely personal vision which was visible in his novels. As such, he was claimed as one of the greatest English novelists ever. Apart from his novels which re-interpreted his colourful adventures of the sea, Conrad’s quotes also present life’s greatest learning in simple words. Check this segment and find some of the top quotes by Joseph Conrad.

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Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men.

Joseph Conrad

It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.

Joseph Conrad

It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.

Joseph Conrad

We live as we dream--alone....

Joseph Conrad

My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see.

Joseph Conrad

Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank -- but that's not the same thing.

Joseph Conrad

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

Joseph Conrad

Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.

Joseph Conrad

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

Joseph Conrad

He struggled with himself, too. I saw it -- I heard it. I saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith, and no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself.

Joseph Conrad

But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself and, by heavens I tell you, it had gone mad.

Joseph Conrad

The mind of man is capable of anything.

Joseph Conrad

We live in the flicker -- may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday.

Joseph Conrad

The question is not how to get cured, but how to live.

Joseph Conrad

We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness

Joseph Conrad

Few men realize that their life, the very essence of their character, their capabilities and their audacities, are only the expression of their belief in the safety of their surroundings.

Joseph Conrad

Even extreme grief may ultimately vent itself in violence--but more generally takes the form of apathy

Joseph Conrad

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

Joseph Conrad

We live as we dream - alone. While the dream disappears, the life continues painfully.

Joseph Conrad

I couldn't have felt more of lonely desolation somehow, had I been robbed of a belief or had missed my destiny in life...

Joseph Conrad

Like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds. We live in the flicker.

Joseph Conrad

It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core.

Joseph Conrad

The mind of man is capable of anything--because everything is in it, all the past as well as the future

Joseph Conrad

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

Joseph Conrad

He hated all this, and somehow he couldn't get away.

Joseph Conrad

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

Joseph Conrad

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

Joseph Conrad

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

Joseph Conrad

We couldn't understand because we were too far... and could not remember because we were traveling in the night of first ages, those ages that had gone, leaving hardly a sign... and no memories.

Joseph Conrad

They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force--nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.

Joseph Conrad

We can never cease to be ourselves.

Joseph Conrad

Writing in English is like throwing mud at a wall.

Joseph Conrad

There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery.

Joseph Conrad

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

Joseph Conrad

My task is to make you hear, to make you feel,and, above all, to make you see. That is all, and it is everything.

Joseph Conrad

I let him run on, this papier-mach Mephistopheles, and it seemed to me that if I tried I could poke my forefinger through him, and would find nothing inside but a little loose dirt, maybe.

Joseph Conrad

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 much.

Joseph Conrad

And this also," said Marlow suddenly, "has been one of the dark places of the earth.

Joseph Conrad

They had behind them, to my mind, the terrific suggestiveness of words heard in dreams, of phrases spoken in nightmares.

Joseph Conrad

The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil water-way leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky--seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.

Joseph Conrad

Never test another man by your own weakness.

Joseph Conrad

One can't live with one's finger everlastingly on one's pulse.

Joseph Conrad

I have a voice, too, and for good or evil mine is the speech that cannot be silenced

Joseph Conrad

Who knows what true happiness is, not the conventional word.. but the naked terror. To the lonely themselves, that wears a mask, the most miserable outcast hugs some memory.. or some illusion.

Joseph Conrad

For a time I would feel I belonged still to a world of straightforward facts; but the feeling would not last long. Something would turn up to scare it away.

Joseph Conrad

I saw him open his mouth wide. . . as though he had wanted to swallow all the air, all the earth, all the men before him.

Joseph Conrad

There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies - which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world - what I want to forget.

Joseph Conrad

Madness alone is truly terrifying, inasmuch as you cannot placate it by threats, persuasion, or bribes.

Joseph Conrad

He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is detestable. And it has a fascination, too, which goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination--you know.

Joseph Conrad

It is my belief no man ever understands quite his own artful dodges to escape from the grim shadow of self-knowledge.

Joseph Conrad

I had no particular desire to enlighten them, but I had some difficulty in restraining myself from laughing in their faces, so full of stupid importance.

Joseph Conrad

I slipped the book into my pocket. I assure you to leave off reading was like tearing myself away from the shelter of an old and solid friendship.

Joseph Conrad

His face was like the autumn sky, overcast one moment and bright the next.

Joseph Conrad

A writing may be lost; a lie may be written; but what the eye has seen is truth and remains in the mind!

Joseph Conrad

Everything belonged to him. It made me hold my breath in expectation of hearing the wilderness burst into prodigious peal of laughter that would shake the fixed stars in their places.

Joseph Conrad

...for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence...

Joseph Conrad

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.

Joseph Conrad

She feared the unknown as we all do, and her ignorance made the unknown infinitely vast.

Joseph Conrad

I always went my own road and on my own legs where I had a mind to go

Joseph Conrad

Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory, and the truth of every passion wants some pretence to make it live.

Joseph Conrad

Art is long and life is short, and success is very far off.

Joseph Conrad

All that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men.

Joseph Conrad

I am afraid that if you want to go down into history you'll have to do something for it.

Joseph Conrad

And a word carries far-very far-deals destruction through time as the bullets go flying through space.

Joseph Conrad

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.

Joseph Conrad

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.

Joseph Conrad

It made you feel very small, very lost, and yet it was not altogether depressing, that feeling. After all, if you were small, the grimy beetle crawled on - which was just what you wanted it to do.

Joseph Conrad

Everything belonged to him--but that was a trifle. The thing to know was what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own.

Joseph Conrad

I suppose everybody must be always just a little homesick.

Joseph Conrad

The very young have, properly speaking, no moments. It is the privilege of early youth to live in advance of its days in all the beautiful continuity of hope which knows no pauses and no introspection.

Joseph Conrad

Youth is insolent; it is its right – its necessity; it has got to assert itself, and all assertion in this world of doubts is a defiance, is an insolence…

Joseph Conrad

The man who says that he has no illusions has at least that one.

Joseph Conrad

He existed for me, and after all it is only through me that he exists for you.

Joseph Conrad

There is no credulity so eager and blind as the credulity of covetousness, which, in its universal extent, measures the moral misery and the intellectual destitution of mankind.

Joseph Conrad

The sight of it made the earth seem unearthly. They were accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there-- there you could look at a thing monstrous, beautiful, and free.

Joseph Conrad

And after all, one does not die of it." "Die of what?" I asked swiftly. "Of being afraid.

Joseph Conrad

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.

Joseph Conrad

The condemned social order has not been built up on paper and ink, and I don't fancy that a combination of paper and ink will ever put an end to it.

Joseph Conrad

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.

Joseph Conrad

The sky over Patusan was blood-red, immense, streaming like an open vein. An enormous sun nestled crimson amongst the treetops, and the forest below had a black and forbidding face.

Joseph Conrad

Government in general, any government anywhere, is a thing of exquisite comicality to a discerning mind.

Joseph Conrad

Every age is fed on illusions, lest men should renounce life early and the human race come to an end.

Joseph Conrad

Curiosity being one of the forms of self-revelation, a systematically incurious person remains always partly mysterious.

Joseph Conrad

He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is also detestable.

Joseph Conrad

Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love - and to put it's trust in life!

Joseph Conrad

Rich or poor, strong or weak, who among us has not begged God for a second chance?

Joseph Conrad

The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it. A taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it all, like a whiff from some corpse.

Joseph Conrad

I thought his memory was like the other memories of the dead that accumulate in every man's life,—a vague impress on the brain of shadows that had fallen on it in their swift and final passage. . .

Joseph Conrad

In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent.

Joseph Conrad

In the destructive element immerse.

Joseph Conrad

There are more kinds of fools than one can guard against.

Joseph Conrad

A woman's true tenderness, like the true virility of man, is expressed in action of a conquering kind.

Joseph Conrad

All idealisation makes life poorer. To beautify it is to take away its character of complexity — it is to destroy it.

Joseph Conrad

The belief in a super natural sources of evil is not necessary. Men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.

Joseph Conrad

He was there below me, and, upon my word, to look at him was as edifying as seeing a dog in a parody of breeches and a featherhat, walking on his hind legs.

Joseph Conrad

You take a different view of your actions when you come to understand, when you are made to understand every day that your existence is necessary - you see, absolutely necessary - to another person.

Joseph Conrad

(law is) the pretty branding instrument invented by the overfed to protect themselves against the hungry ?

Joseph Conrad

Mistah Kurtz--he dead.

Joseph Conrad

An appeal to me in this fiendish row - is there? Very well; I hear; I admit, but I have a voice too, and for good or evil mine is the speech that cannot be silenced.

Joseph Conrad