If Joseph Conrad lived today, his heart of darkness would be Ukraine

Left: Joseph Conrad / Right: Chernihiv after Russian shelling / Images: Wikipedia

Joseph Conrad, one of the greatest writers in the English literature, was born on December 3, 1857.

English language was not his mother tongue, as he was of Polish descent. His name was Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, and he was the son of a Polish ​​political activist, Apollo Korzeniowski.

What made me write this post is the places he lived before moving to Western Europe. These towns are now known due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Conrad Korzeniowski was born in Berdychiv, then part of the Russian Empire, and now in northern Ukraine. In March 2022, the town’s civilian infrastructure was bombed by Russians.

Korzeniowski’s father was sentenced to exile in Siberia, but they managed to move in 1863 to Chernihiv, a town that’s located 100 kilometers south of today’s three-way Ukrainian-Belarusian-Russian border crossing at Senkivka. 

Those who follow the news from the Russian invasion, remember the Siege of Chernihiv, which took place between February 24 and April 4, 2022. It is estimated that between 350 and 400 civilians were killed during the siege.

In 1867, Conrad and his family moved to Lviv, which was then a part of the Austrian Partition, and now is the largest city in western Ukraine. Today, the life of the city is dominated by air-raid alerts and the sound of bombs.

If Joseph Conrad Korzeniowski lived today, he would write the Heart of Darkness without leaving Chernihiv, Lviv, or Berdychiv.

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