On this day, December 3, in 1857, Joseph Conrad was born in Berdichev, Imperial Russia (modern
Ukraine, then a part of Poland). While he settled in England and wrote in English, he always considered himself a Pole. Heart of Darkness, one of the most famous of his 20 novels (which explores colonialism and the attitudes regarding what constitutes a barbarian versus civilized society) is considered one of the best English novels of the 20th century, as is his novel Lord Jim, which chronicles a crew’s abandonment of its disabled ship. Conrad died in England in 1924 at age 66.