Joseph Conrad was born the only child of
Polish parents in the Russian-controlled Ukraine. His father was
involved with the covert national Polish movement and was arrested
by the Russian authorities for patriotic conspiracy, so they were
exiled to Northern Russia. His mother died during this period in
1865 and his father died two years. Conrad was left orphaned and
the ward of his maternal uncle. Often the young Conrad spoke of a
desire to go to sea, so pursuing this dream, he left for
Marseilles to become a trainee seaman in the French merchant navy.
He was a talented linguist as he proved later in his novels.