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My father read [Mickiewicz's] Pan Tadeusz aloud to me and made me read it aloud.... A few months later, on , Apollo Korzeniowski died, leaving Conrad orphaned at the age of eleven.

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Intellectually he was extremely advanced but [he] disliked school routine, which he found tiring and dull; he used to say... On 13 October 1874 Bobrowski sent the sixteen-year-old to Marseilles, France, for a planned career at sea. In December 1867, with the Russian government's permission, his father Apollo had taken him to the Austrian part of the former Commonwealth, which enjoyed considerable internal freedom and a degree of self-government.

Conrad's fiercely patriotic father Apollo belonged to the "Red" political faction, whose goal was to re-establish the pre-partition boundaries of Poland, but which also advocated land reform and the abolition of serfdom.

Conrad's subsequent refusal to follow in Apollo's footsteps, and his choice of exile over resistance, were a source of lifelong guilt for Conrad.

He belonged to only the second generation in his family that had had to earn a living outside the family estates: he was a member of the second generation of the intelligentsia, a social class that was starting to play an important role in Central and Eastern Europe. the desirability of Conrad's naturalisation abroad (tantamount to release from being a Russian subject) and Conrad's plans to join the British merchant marine. I thought, however, of your getting naturalized in Switzerland..." In his next letter, Bobrowski supported Conrad's idea of seeking citizenship of the United States or of "one of the more important Southern Republics". On 2 July 1886 he applied for British nationality, which was granted on 19 August 1886.

He had absorbed enough of the history, culture and literature of his native land to be able eventually to develop a distinctive world view and make unique contributions to the literature of his adoptive Britain. intelligentsia were social strata in which reputation... Yet, in spite of having become a subject of Queen Victoria, Conrad had not ceased to be a subject of Tsar Alexander III.

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