A Personal Record is a 'fragment of biography', an autobiographical work by Joseph Conrad, published in 1912. It is also a masterpiece of atmospheric writing and the main contemporary source to detail his early life. Conrad, Polish by birth, who goes on to become one of the greatest novelists of the English language, describes his childhood and adolescence, discusses his forebears, one of whom fought on the side of Napoleon and ate a Lithuanian dog, the exile of his parents, the death of his mother and his relationship with his Uncle Tadeusz. He takes us to the Alps with his tutor, to Marseilles with the pilots, to the freezing fog-bound docks of Rouen with his battered manuscript of Almayer's Folly. But Conrad has an overriding object: this memoir beautifully interweaves the tales of why he went to sea and how he came to be a writer. Its digressive structure is precisely what makes it a magical and timeless work about exile, destiny, and art. It is read by Greg Wagland.