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The Mirror of the Sea the Mirror of the Sea

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  279 Ratings  ·  30 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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Feb 23, 2012 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
Dec 12, 2011 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 23, 2013 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
Jan 11, 2011 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.
Marts  (Thinker)
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, essays
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.”
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
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the chapter Rulers of East and West, Joseph Conrad tells us that the east and west winds are a struggle for sailors. These winds cause huge waves of water to splash down on ships. Often times, this would make a ship sink. The winds from the north and south tend to be more calm. The author remembered a voyage when the ship was caught in a storm made by the east and west winds. The crew on the ship hoped that the weather will clear up and it instantly did. In the chapter Overdue and Missing, t ...more
The person who wishes to understand Joseph Conrad’s views on politics and religion would do well to consider just how much time Conrad spent at sea before he turned to novel writing. Conrad spent half of the preceding twenty years on voyages, and to some extent his mind never really left that world.

Indeed, there is often a kind of duality of thinking in Conrad’s mind, reflecting the two great learning experiences of Conrad’s life – the time he spent at sea, tempered with the lessons he learned l
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A memoir, not a novel, of Conrad's early life spent on the sea with the British merchant marine. There are rememberances of joyful and terrifying times, much told wistfully as Conrad lived to see the transition to the less-romantic age of steamships. Four stars, not five, as its not one of his novels, but Conrad is Conrad, so the writing is still wonderful.

"But one could see at a glance that men and ships were never hustled there. They were so quiet that, remembering them well, one comes to dou
This is probably the best introduction to Conrad for anyone not familiar with his writings. These tales read like autobiographical memoirs mostly and Conrad describes them as “impressions and memories”. He wonders how these personal tales will fare in a century, two or three, when the seafaring ways of his time are forgotten and replaced by newer ships such as the steamships in his time were replacing sailing ships. There is much ruminating in these reflections on the “immense and unfathomable” ...more
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This is Joseph Conrad's memoir of his decades working as a sailor around the 1870's. Steam power is taking over from sail and he mourns the passing of an ancient way of life in which a sailor's life is inextricably bound up with the sea, the wind and his ship, which has a character all her own. He also celebrates the way of life he has known and writes in beautiful poetic detail about the west wind, the port of London and many anecdotes from his sailing life.
I read this book slowly, there is no
Joseph Sverker
An interesting book and an insight into the love of the sea and the trust that a sailor holds to his ship.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am happy I read this. Along with a broader understanding of Conrad's roots, it includes a story of a youthful sea adventure as dramatic as anything he presented as fiction,
Peter Russell
Oct 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible rambling personal experiences.
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mirror of the Sea (1906) shows a more personal side of Joseph Conrad than his better-known novels like Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness, and Nostromo. It begins as an ode to the sea in which Conrad openly shows his love for all things nautical, a philosophical treatise in which ships and the sea are metaphors for those better angels that make men admirable—or not. Then it morphs into an autobiography of Conrad’s years before the mast in which he discusses storms, good and bad captains, strandings, bl ...more
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.

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.' But these collected essays turned out not so much to be about the sea as about ships.

Conrad served on many vessels and in many capacities, so he had long experience by which to come by the insight th
Mar 06, 2012 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
Kilian Metcalf
Jul 23, 2015 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
Aug 27, 2007 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.
Apr 04, 2014 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.
Mr Frederick M Soole
Great read.

A beautiful and poetic memoir of the nature of the sea and life on 19th century sailing ships, told from first hand experience by one of the greatest writers in English.

For those with an interest in sailing in the Thames, it includes a description of the Estuary in the 1870s.
Ellis Knox
Jan 31, 2012 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.
Sep 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sidney Weber
Apr 29, 2014 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.
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).
Luiz da Motta
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sea-stories
Just love this book
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorites
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite possibly the best book about the sea and sailors I have ever read.
Aashish Kaul
rated it really liked it
Jul 21, 2014
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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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