Conrad First The Joseph Conrad Periodical Archive

Conrad on Poland

in The Miami Herald (Miami, FL, USA) (Apr 14, 1920): (Page imagery not yet available)

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p.6. Unsigned notice reads: "Poland continues to be the last battlefront of Europe. And in spite of the lethargy or the prejudiced criticism which is common in America, the fight which Poland is still waging is one of the most devoted, the most gallant, in European history. In that connection a letter from the greatest Pole of all, Joseph Conrad, the author who has added to the glories of the English language by his use of it, speaks tellingly of that Poland, ringed in by enemies, facing from Russia the forces of radicalism that have threatened to swallow her, deserted by the allies, starving, barren, but still fighting." There follows an extract from Conrad's letter to John Quinn of 2 March 1920 (CL 7: 37-41): "I confess to some little gratification at the thought that the unbroken Polish front keeps Bolshevism off and that apparently the re-born State has one heart and one soul, one indomitable will, from the poorest peasant to the highest magnate. Those same magnates, by the by, have now no more power and precious little more wealth than the poorest peasant, with whom they fight shoulder to shoulder against moral and physical pestilence bred in Russia, on a line from the Baltic Provinces to the present frontier of Roumania. The magic sense of independence is the cause of that union without reserves and regrets which enables that three times devastated and impoverished country to put forth its physical strength, and on the very morrow of rising from its grave to take up its old historical part of defender of civilization against the dangers of barbarism, once Tartar and Turkish, and now even worse, because arising no longer from the mere savagery of nomad races but from an enormous seething mass of sheer moral corruption--generating violence of a more purposeful sort."

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