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 :: 1857-1924, Polish-born British Novelist

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I dare say I am compelled, unconsciously compelled, now to write volume after volume, as in past years I was compelled to go to sea, voyage after voyage. Leaves must follow upon each other as leagues used to follow in the days gone by, on and on to the appointed end, which, being truth itself, is one -- one for all men and for all occupations.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Wordiness]

 

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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 - [Work]

 

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I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable grayness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamor, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Death and Dying]

 

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I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more --the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort --to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires --and expires, too soon, too soon --before life itself.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Youth]

 

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I would not unduly praise the virtue of restraint. It is often merely temperamental. But it is not always a sign of coldness. It may be pride. There can be nothing more humiliating than to see the shaft of one's emotion miss the mark of either laughter or tears. Nothing more humiliating! And this for the reason that should the mark be missed, should the open display of emotion fail to move, then it must perish unavoidably in disgust or contempt.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Reserve]

 

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It is a maudlin and indecent verity that comes out through the strength of wine.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Wine]

 

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It is respectable to have no illusions, and safe, and profitable and dull.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Illusion]

 

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It is very difficult to be wholly joyous or wholly sad on this earth. The comic, when it is human, soon takes upon itself a face of pain; and some of our grieves... have their source in weaknesses which must be recognized with smiling compassion as the common inheritance of us all.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Emotions]

 

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It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun.
~ Joseph Conrad - [People, Other]

 

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It's extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull ears, with dormant thoughts. Perhaps it's just as well; and it may be that it is this very dullness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable and so welcome.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Life and Living]

 

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Nations it may be have fashioned their Governments, but the Governments have paid them back in the same coin.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Government]

 

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Only in men's imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Imagination]

 

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Perhaps life is just that... a dream and a fear.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Life and Living]

 

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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 - [Resignation]

 

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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 - [Management]

 

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The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Evil]

 

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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.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Empire]

 

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The East Wind, an interloper in the dominions of Westerly Weather, is an impassive-faced tyrant with a sharp poniard held behind his back for a treacherous stab.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Wind]

 

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The revolutionary spirit is mighty convenient in this, that it frees one from all scruples as regards ideas. Its hard absolute optimism is repulsive to my mind by the menace of fanaticism and intolerance it contains. No doubt one should smile at these things; but, imperfect Esthete, I am no better Philosopher. All claim to special righteousness awakens in me that scorn and anger from which a philosophical mind should be free.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Revolutions and Revolutionaries]

 

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The scrupulous and the just, the noble, humane, and devoted natures; the unselfish and the intelligent may begin a movement -- but it passes away from them. They are not the leaders of a revolution. They are its victims.
~ Joseph Conrad - [Revolutions and Revolutionaries]

 

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