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The Mirror of the Sea the Mirror of the Sea

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  210 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
An anchor is a forged piece of iron, admirably adapted to its end, and technical language is an instrument wrought into perfection by ages of experience, a flawless thing for its purpose. An anchor of yesterday (because nowadays there are contrivances like mushrooms and things like claws, of no particular expression or shape - just hooks) - an anchor of yesterday is in its ...more
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published May 23rd 2010 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1906)
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Hadley
Oct 18, 2014 Hadley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If the days of tall ships and sailing fascinate and excite you, or if you simply love beautiful masterpieces of words, read Mirror of the Sea. If you like both, you'll enjoy it even more. Conrad's compilation of articles about sailing and the sea is a wonderful look at so many aspects of life on the sea, and Conrad writes in such a vivid and incredible manner that what might otherwise seem mundane is fascinating. Part of what I loved about Mirror of the Sea is that the articles are short and eas ...more
midnightfaerie
Dec 29, 2012 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad was a compelling read. From love to death, Conrad expounds on it all, using his life at sea to relate to the human condition. I'm quickly learning that to really understand a book, you must first understand its author. And to do that, it is best to read even a little about that author and their life. You can do this before or after you read the book, but at the very least, look the person up on Wikipedia. It helps to give you an idea of where they're coming ...more
Ronald Wise
Jun 25, 2013 Ronald Wise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful collection of essays by a man who obviously spent much of his time contemplating the significance of his experiences at sea and, fortunately, had an outstanding ability to convey those experiences and thoughts into words which would allow readers to appreciate them into posterity.

I’m in the process of reading all of Conrad’s books in the chronological order by which they were written, and have found that the more familiar I become with his style and the time-appropriate meanings of t
...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Autobiographical essays by Conrad...

As stated in the Author’s Note to this work:

”Beyond the line of the sea horizon the world for me did not exist….Within these pages I make a full confession not of my sins but of my emotions. It is the best tribute my piety can offer to the ultimate shapers of my character, convictions, and, in a sense, destiny—to the imperishable sea, to the ships that are no more, and to the simple men who have had their day.”
Charlie
Jan 11, 2011 Charlie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OMG! Is there anybody outside of Shakespeare who is as much a magician of the English language as Conrad??? And it was his second language! Wow! As a sailor home on the sea, I have never read such poetic, accurate descriptions of "out there". The metaphors sometimes make me laugh out loud they are so beautiful.
Udi
אני רוצה להמליץ בחום ואהבה רבה על הספר המקסים הזה, שאינו עוסק בקולוניאליזם, התנגשות חזיתית בין המציאות לאידיאל, פוליטיקה או סערות רגשיות הפוקדות את גבוריו, אלא מוסר את זכרונותיו של קונראד מחייו כיורד-ים (לא הצלחתי לחשוב על תואר אחר שיבטא את 'חייו הראשונים' של הסופר, שפרש מהשרות הימי בדרגת קפטן מוסמך).
12 ספרים לאחר שהתחלתי את פרוייקט קונראד שלי (למעלה מ-30), מצאתי את זה בו התאהבתי למן העמודים הראשונים. נוסטרומו, לטעמי, עדיין מחזיק בתואר 'הטוב ביותר' אבל כאן, כשהוא אינו כותב על הנושאים כבדי המשקל
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Perry Whitford
Subtitled 'Memories and Impressions', this is Joseph Conrad's distillation of his professional life as a seaman, which provided so much material for his fiction. It turns out not so much to be about the sea as about ships. Of the sea itself he says 'for all the celebrations it had been the object of in prose and song, the sea has never been friendly to man.'
Conrad served on many vessels and in many capacities, so he long experience by which to come by the insight that the love all sailors have f
...more
Ash
Nov 28, 2015 Ash rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoever owned this edition before me went to the trouble of looking up the more esoteric nautical terms that Conrad uses, along with other words that have more or less gone out of fashion/usage, and wrote short definitions in the margins.

This would be exceedingly helpful, if it wasn't for the fact that this previous owner's handwriting is completely incomprehensible.
Lucy
Apr 11, 2014 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most interesting thing about this collection of essays is wondering how Conrad could transmute these experiences into his wonderful novels. The beautiful writing is here, the detailed descriptions, but something is lacking - it's as if he needed the fictional characters to enable him to contemplate the human condition as he does in the novels. It's made me want to go sailing, though.
Sidney Weber
Apr 29, 2014 Sidney Weber rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not a novel

When I selected this book, I thought that I was getting a novel. Instead, it was more like a series of wikipedia articles, but much better written than most. Some chapters were interesting, but many were not. I just did not enjoy it.
David Hutchins
Series of autobiographical essays by Conrad, focusing on his life as a sailor and his fascination with the sea and ships. Beautifully written as always though my interest in the topics varied. Less involving than reading one of his stories.
Neil
Mar 18, 2012 Neil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In many ways, this can be hard work; old Joe assumed a certain knowledge of seamanship on the side of his readers...which in my case is well-nigh absent. But the trick, I've found, is to read slowly...or even aloud. Then the magnificence of the language shines like a lighthouse (see? It's catching). I guess the fact that he had to learn English as an adult is what makes him so grammatically perfect, and his own delight in metaphor and the occasional idiom is fun to join in.
This is the second tim
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Kilian Metcalf
Dec 21, 2015 Kilian Metcalf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't care much for Conrad's fiction. He is my idea of a man's writer, but I love his non-fiction essays. Because he straddled the transition from sail to steam, and because he is a great writer, he is able to communicate the joy sailing to a landlubber like me. This collection of essays will take readers out of the everyday world and put them in the middle of the action. They will learn what it feels to stand watch for the first time, to feel a dead ship under their feet, to know what happens ...more
Tom
Aug 15, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite possibly the best book about the sea and sailors I have ever read.
Gbeab
Aug 27, 2007 Gbeab rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Conrad taught me everything about the sky, or he convinced me that I understand "The Grip of the Land", "The Weight of the Burden", and so forth. Every sentence is a gem, deserves to be read and reread. Strictly reflection, literally a memoir and figuratively the sky's reflection on the character of the sea. Rather selfless, Conrad rarely uses I.

Frank Conroy once said if everyone penned from the heart everyone could win the Pulitzer Prize. Conrad writes generously here.
Ellis L.
Jan 31, 2012 Ellis L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was originally a series of magazine articles, and it shows. But as a collection of personal reminiscences, it's fascinating. It's a vivid look at the last days of sailing ships. His descriptions of coming up the Thames and docking are memorable.
Anna
Chapter 1, Landfall, was particularly interesting. Conrad theorises that a departure is not the moment one leaves a location, but the moment when the location can no longer be seen (ie: horizon, city, land of any sort).
Mumbler
Jan 10, 2016 Mumbler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel-and-place
some parts may be minor work, many parts are just great.
Luiz da Motta
Feb 26, 2013 Luiz da Motta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sea-stories
Just love this book
Ulla
Apr 11, 2013 Ulla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorites
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Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski ) was a Polish-born English novelist who today is most famous for Heart of Darkness, his fictionalized account of Colonial Africa.

Conrad left his native Poland in his middle teens to avoid conscription into the Russian Army. He joined the French Merchant Marine and briefly employed himself as a wartime gunrunner. He then began to work aboard Br
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“Nowhere else than upon the sea do the days, weeks and months fall away quicker into the past. They seem to be left astern as easily as the light air-bubbles in the swirls of the ship’s wake, and vanish into a great silence in which your ship moves on with a sort of magical effect.” 3 likes
“It is a great doctor for sore hearts and sore heads, too, your ship’s routine, which I have seen soothe—at least for a time—the most turbulent of spirits. There is health in it, and peace, and satisfaction of the accomplished round; for each day of the ship’s life seems to close a circle within the wide ring of the sea horizon. It borrows a certain dignity of sameness from the majestic monotony of the sea. He who loves the sea loves also the ship’s routine.” 3 likes
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