This book features introductions by Dr. Keith Carabine, Chairperson of the Joseph Conrad Society (U.K.). 'I have tried with an almost filial regard to render the vibration of life in the great world of waters, in the hearts of simple men who have traversed its solitudes, and also that something sentient which seems to dwell in ships - the creatures of their hands and the objects of their care' - Joseph Conrad on "The Mirror of the Sea". 'An imaginative and exact rendering of authentic memories may serve worthily that spirit of piety towards all things human which sanctions the conceptions of a writer of tales, and the emotions of a man reviewing his own experience' - "A Personal Record".These two autobiographical works differ greatly in scope and form. In "The Mirror" (1906) Conrad draws upon his career as a mariner in France and then in the British Merchant Service to consider and dramatise the relationships between men, ships and the sea in an era when his beloved sailing ships gave way to the age of steam.
"A Personal Record" (1912) pivots on two crucial turning points in Conrad's amazing life: his decision as a sixteen year old to leave Poland for the 'call' of the sea, and his decision fifteen years later to begin his first novel, "Almayer's Folly", in English, his third language. "The Mirror" has been called 'the epic of the sailing ship' and 'The Bible of the Sea'. "A Personal Record" is a humorous, moving account of a young man's struggle, against all the odds, to create 'a coherent, justifiable personality both in its origin and its action'.