Heart of Darkness

by Joseph Conrad

Hardcover, 1993

Call number




Everyman's Library (1993), 144 pages


Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML: Heart of Darkness is Joseph Conrad's disturbing novella recounted by the itinerant captain Marlow sent to find and bring home the shadowy and inscrutable Captain Kurtz. Marlow and his men follow a river deep into a jungle, the "Heart of Darkness" of Africa looking for Kurtz, an unhinged leader of an isolated trading station. This highly symbolic psychological drama was the founding myth for Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 movie Apocalypse Now..

User reviews

LibraryThing member Meredy
Six-word review: Not sure what I just read.

Extended review:

Most likely it was very good. But enigmatic, or so they say. Not that I'd know; maybe it's just me. I've read some fairly tough stuff in my reading career, but this one made me feel like a borderline idiot.

I followed the narrative, or
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thought I did--a frame tale with one Marlow being the narrator of the adventure and all his remarks being written down by his unnamed listener. I couldn't make out the reason for the use of this device in this instance. What would have been lost--what would even have been different--if the putative narrator had penned a first-person account of his experiences going upriver into the African jungle to find Mr. Kurtz? Why deliver it all as if second-hand? I don't see it.

As for the narrative itself, I am not accustomed to having any difficulty with nineteenth-century prose, American or British or even (translated) Russian, no matter how quirky, rambling, vocabulous, or convoluted. The half-crazed internal monologues of Poe's characters and Dostoevsky's haven't slowed me down. I can handle the archaic styles of George Eliot and Walter Scott and Nathaniel Hawthorne, not to mention poetry of earlier centuries. There's nothing in Conrad's diction or syntax that I can't understand. I've read plenty of literature that goes for mood and atmosphere and allegorical meaning without actually having anything resembling what we'd think of as a plot.

And yet I'm holding my copy of Heart of Darkness, open to the two-thirds mark, where I'm rereading passages for the third or fourth time and asking: What is this really saying? What am I missing? What's going on?

Is it a ghost story? Are we supposed to take references to Kurtz's disinterred remains and his skeletal appearance as meaning what they seem to mean? I could make some sense of that, but the commentaries I've looked up don't seem to bear me out. I must have read it wrong.

Swallowing my pride, I've just been reduced to reading the entire SparkNotes summary and analysis, which are damned near as long as the book itself, and received very little enlightenment. Yes, that's definitely the novella I just read. Now I'm wondering what the story is about and what the SparkNotes are about, if they're not just about the evils of European colonization of so-called primitive societies and the looting of their treasures.

One thing I'll testify that it isn't is a character study. To me it seems to conceal more than it reveals, pointing with gestures and symbols and geographical landmarks to the places where disclosures of information ought to be but aren't. Is that the point? Is that the horror at the core? Is that why Eliot chose a line from this story as the epigraph to his poem "The Hollow Men"?

I concede defeat. I'll take my lumps for being too lowbrow for Conrad. But what I'd like to know is, what in the world was my high school English teacher thinking when he assigned it to a room full of sixteen- and seventeen-year-old American kids? I was reading Dostoevsky on my own then, for pleasure, but I didn't make anything of this. Fifty years later, I still don't.
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LibraryThing member santhony
Like most people, I was familiar with Heart of Darkness, both as an acclaimed work of literature and as the inspiration for the remarkable movie Apocolypse Now. For some reason, I recently decided to make an attempt at reading it, despite my concern that it was written at a level beyond my capacity
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to understand.

Upon receipt of the volume from Amazon, I was initially under the impression that I had mistakenly ordered the Cliff's Notes version of the work. I had no idea that the book was essentially a short story, easily readable in 2-3 hours.

Even more surprising, was the ease with which I was able to follow and understand the story, though admittedly written in a slightly dense prose. Perhaps this was due to having seen Apocolypse Now and being familiar with the broad outline of the story and having read other works of history on the Belgian Congo.

In any event, it was a decent story, filled with some beautifully descriptive language and imagery. I must say, however, that I was not bowled over. Steamship Captain pilots a ragged boat up the Congo, accompanied by colonial agents and support staff (cannibals and other natives) in an attempt to relieve a long stranded station agent (Kurtz) who has "gone native" and become the insane source of worship for the local natives. If you've seen Apocolypse Now, you know the story, just replace the Mekong with the Congo.

I go back to my first paragraph in which I related a concern over my ability to understand what is considered a classic work of literature. I fully understood it, but was perhaps not qualified to fully appreciate it.
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LibraryThing member MissLizzy
I hate to say it, but I really didn't like this book. I know that it is a metaphor for something, but full realization of that metaphor eludes me, and I am really not that interested in discovering it. It was mostly the descriptions of everything, from people to the jungle to the banks of the
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Thames, that entrapped me--I probably have several pages worth of highlighted sentences, phrases, and paragraphs. Conrad has easily captured the idea of the phrase "hauntingly beautiful" when describing his characters and their surroundings and ideas.
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LibraryThing member gbill
This quote from Srinivas Naik captures the essence of “Heart of Darkness” (1902) well: “The story tells of Charles Marlow, an Englishman who took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the dark side of European
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colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters: the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the Europeans' cruel treatment of the natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil.”

It’s certainly of interest and the intention behind the book is good, but the writing is a bit dense. The introduction to this particular volume is quite good at providing the historical context, recounting the story of Stanley and Livingstone, and including this comment on the nature of the “Heart of Darkness”: “...the ‘civilizing’ mission actually uncovers ‘darkness’ at its own heart. As V.G. Kiernan puts it, African in this period ‘became very truly a Dark Continent, but its darkness was one the invaders brought with them, the sombre shadow of the white man.”

The Stanley story is relevant because Conrad made his own trip up the Congo in 1890, he ended up horribly disillusioned and depressed, as he “realized that the idealised realities of a boy’s daydreams had been displaced and befouled by the activities of Stanley and the Congo Free State…and the distasteful knowledge of the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience and geographical exploration.”

Quotes from the book:
On dreams (and solitude):
“'It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream - making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is the very essence of dreams...'
He was silent for a while.
'...No, it is impossible, it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence, - that which makes its truth, its meaning - its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream - alone...'”

On life:
“Droll thing life is - that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself - that comes too late - a crop of unextinguishable regrets. I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be.”

On perseverance:
“Trees, trees, millions of trees, massive, immense, running up high; and at their foot, hugging the bank against the stream, crept the little begrimed steamboat, like a sluggish beetle crawling on the floor of a lofty portico. It made you feel very small, very lost, and yet it was not altogether depressing that feeling. After all, it you were small, the grimy beetle crawled on - which was just what you wanted it to do.”

On war:
“It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind - as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.”

On work:
“I don't like work - no man does - but I like what is in the work, - the chance to find yourself. Your own reality - for yourself, not for others - what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.”
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LibraryThing member 50MinuteMermaid
A tortured last gasp of old-school (Old World?) colonialism, I wish this book could serve as a lesson to so many people and on so many levels; How NOT To Represent People Of Color, What Imperialism Does To One, Men Do The Craziest Things, PTSD And Its Colorful Effects, How To Get Away With Being A
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Psychotic Megalomaniac...the list goes on! And finally: How To Write A Book So That Your Reader Feels The Hopeless, Contradictory Weight Of White Guilt Vs. Survivor's Guilt.

I did think it was good, though.
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LibraryThing member LisaMorr
Wow - what a book. It's short - 117 pages, and I wanted it to be longer. I was savoring every page. The descriptions were amazing.

I was a little worried after reading 7-8 pages, it was very bleh. But as soon as Marlow started to get into his story, it was wonderful.

This story is told to the
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narrator, who is on a boat with Marlow, sitting on the Thames, waiting for the tide to turn. As they are waiting, Marlow tells his story about going up the Congo River, and his meeting with Kurtz, an agent of the company, renowned for finding so much ivory.

I had to read aloud this passage when I came across it:

He was a lank, bony, yellow-faced man, with big intense eyes. His aspect was worried, and his head was as bald as the palm of my hand; but his hair in falling seemed to have stuck to his chin, and had prospered in the new locality, for his beard hung down to his waist.

And this short book is filled with this! Turn the page, and it is filled with a description of the river, It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.

This book is more about the narrative and the symbolism than the story. It starts out with Marlow musing about how the Romans found England to be when they first arrived - dark and uncivilized. And then segues into his trip up the Congo. And ends with him visiting Kurtz' fiance.

I didn't realize at first that Apocalypse Now was based on Heart of Darkness. I first saw that movie when I was 16, and I sat through it twice in the movie theatre, and that movie was about 2.5 hours long! In reading this, it's obvious Kurtz is the same. They talk about his method "being unsound" and his last words were, "the horror, the horror." The Dennis Hopper character is the same in the book too. It was sometimes hard to not have Marlon Brando and Dennis Hopper in my head.

Overall, I give it 4 stars - 1/2 star off for slow start and slow ending, and 1/2 star off for a little less story than I would like.
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LibraryThing member Blenny
In order to read and understand this book, I found a little bit of knowledge about art and writing in the modernist age would be greatly beneficial to the reader. The vagueness of the text is very similar to that of impressionist painting in art, i.e making 'impressions' of something, 'suggesting'
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rather than saying 'This is what it is'. Conrad starts out telling a story within a story, within a story....like we all do in conversation...(a friend of a friend, of a friend).
The story starts off as a fairly light and bright scene and gets darker and darker as the story progresses, journeying further into the depths of the jungle (the film Seven uses this same method). He turns what is perceived as racism today completely on it's head, for example, one of the African characters says that all white people look the same to him. As for the term 'savages', it's the white man, Kurtz who is written as the most savage of all. The journey into the dark jungle is a metaphor for journeying deep down to the depths of the human heart to find that inner animal where we first came from, which Kurtz found in himself. Hence the title being 'Heart Of Darkness'.
Conrad seems to be commenting on his main character Marlow's realisation that races are no different to one another and we are all savages at heart...just look at the way we treated the animals in the ivory trade.
Contrary to some beliefs, Heart of Darkness is an anti-imperialist and anti-racist book, after all Conrad writes about how horrendous slavery and the ivory trade is. Even the quotation 'The horror, the horror', is surely a reflection of this.
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LibraryThing member TheoClarke
Lush language is the key differentiator of this remarkable polemic against atrocity. The framed narrative distances the author from the views expressed so it is hard to know whether Conrad shared the racism and sexism of Marlow, his protagonist. Taken at face value, the account of white colonists
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going to collect ivory from a white manager who has ruthlessly suppressed his black suppliers endorses white supremacy but not the ill-treatment of the lesser beings. Marlow objects to Kurtz's abuse of the 'savages' in much the same way that the English of the time protected dogs and horses.
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LibraryThing member atimco
Dismal, bleak, but somehow fascinating in its very pessimism, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness has been on my list to reread for years. But it isn't the sort of book you eagerly search out for re-perusal, oh no. It is the sort of story you borrow on audiobook from the library because the other
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options are unceasingly banal and this at least has the aura of a classic about it.

It was hard to listen to; it took me almost a month to get through four CDs. The narrator, Charles Marlow, tells of his time as a steamboat captain traveling up the Congo River to transport that all-consuming commodity, ivory. Though Marlow narrates, the character that looms largest is that of Kurtz, the company agent whose legend precedes him everywhere. Kurtz is a legend, spoken of with awe... and Marlow's whole torturous journey feels inevitably propelled toward him. They seemed fated to meet. When they finally reach Kurtz in his remote location, they find he has subjugated an entire tribe to worship him and has employed torture, murder, and raids to gather all the ivory from the surrounding peoples. It is a horrifying situation, but mercifully must end, as Kurtz, very sick, reluctantly agrees to go back to civilization for treatment.

Kurtz, weakened and ill, does not survive the journey back. We can theorize on the reasons why; perhaps he had become unfit for civilization and the ordinary human laws and relationships it represents. I am sure many critics have studied the significance of Kurtz's last words — "The horror, the horror!" — and what exactly he was speaking of. It seems that in his last moments he was finally able to see himself as he really was, to peer down into his own soul and see the blackness there — the true heart of darkness. In some ways it reminded me of The Lord of the Flies in its searching scrutiny of human depravity, how we live when we are beyond the strictures of human law. Not a pretty picture.

And then there's the closing chapter with Marlow listening to Kurtz's betrothed eulogizing him and speaking of what a wonderful man, what a genius he was. And Marlow can only think of the horrors Kurtz perpetrated, of the dangerous force of personality and oration the man possessed that allowed him to dominate everyone he met. English major moment: is Kurtz a metaphor for imperialism, and his betrothed representing those who praise it, so unwitting of how it really was?

Central Africa was a miserable place at this time. Marlow describes of how common sickness and death were, the rapacity (and stupidity) of the ivory companies, the racism and ignorance and mistreatment of the natives, the whole bleak picture of it all. Conrad has a lean, poetic style that is very attractive in itself. He creates such a mystique about the darkness of the unknown. I love how Peter Jackson wove the novel into his remake of King Kong. "We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there—there you could look at a thing monstrous and free."

The next audiobook I picked up and am currently listening to has a similar subject — 19th-century white men traveling into the heart of unknown African lands — but it couldn't be more different. Henry Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines may not have the philosophical profundity of Heart of Darkness, but I actually want to listen to it and I make an effort to turn it on even with only a short time to listen. It's an adventure story, written for fun. Not so Heart of Darkness.
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LibraryThing member keylawk
Perhaps we always have a "choice of nightmares". Conrad writes "It is strange how I accepted this unforeseen partnership, this choice of nightmares forced upon me in the tenebrous land invaded by these mean and greedy phantoms."

I avoided reading this reality fiction for years, out of fear. A
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Review of Conrad's work by Maya Jasanoff forced me to get "over"
my trepidation. She had the same fears but overcame them, and gave us an understanding of what Conrad was showing us--her work is entitled "The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World," Maya Jasanoff, New York, NY: HarperCollins, (2017). The prescience of Conrad is breath-taking. He saw in 1899 the pernicious shadow cast by Leopold of Belgium over the last 100 years. Adam Hochschild describes this evil come to us in his 1998 account of Colonial Africa, "Leopold's Ghost" which we now see leaping out of his Grosse Luege, through the Nazis and Bolsheviks, to Putin and Donald Trump. For those of us who struggle to understand what possible "appeal" evil holds for any human being, we have Conrad holding up a mirror to the Colonialism he observed.

The fact that Joseph Conrad was himself from a Polish family born in what is now Ukrainia in a Jewish village which was erased while Conrad lived. The fact that facts were erased, by method, anonymously, by "these mean and greedy phantoms" who really did cut off the hands of people who failed to bring a quota of gold, ivory, rubber, and children to these tenebrous masters.

The book is a discourse, a choking narrative, a long gasp of horror by an eyewitness. He says "Kurtz discoursed! A voice! a voice! It rang deep to the very last. It survived his strength to hide in magnificent folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart." Conrad even includes a nod toward the extreme difficulty, the kampf, of being evil. "Oh he struggled! he struggled! The wastes of his his weary brain were haunted by shadowy images now—images of wealth and fame revolving obsequiously round his unextinguishable gift of noble and lofty expression. My Intended, my station, my career, my ideas—these were the subjects for the occasional utterances of elevated sentiments. The shade of the original Kurtz frequented the bedside of the hollow sham, whose fate it was to be buried presently in the mould of primeval earth. But both the diabolic love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul satiated with primitive emotions, avid of lying fame, of sham distinction, of all the appearances of success and power."

The narrator carefully adds that "sometimes he was contemptibly childish." As an example, "He desired to have kings meet him at railway-stations on his return from some ghastly Nowhere, where he intended to accomplish great things. ‘You show them you have in you something that is really profitable, and then there will be no limits to the recognition of your ability,’ he would say." This bizarre association with "profits"--never accounted for, never profiting anyone--and the business of accomplishment of "great things" which never happen. Does this not evoke the scarification of our memories of Hitler, of Trump, and of Putin? And the narrator of this story remains bent to the telling by some duty to "dream the nightmare out to the end".

We share in his struggle with his own Destiny. "My destiny! Droll thing life is—that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself—that comes too late—a crop of unextinguishable regrets."

Yet we are left to join the narrator holding the factum of Kurtz with awe. "This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it. Since I had peeped over the edge myself, I understand better the meaning of his stare, that could not see the flame of the candle, but was wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness. He had summed up—he had judged. ‘The horror!’ He was a remarkable man. After all, this was the expression of some sort of belief; it had candour, it had conviction, it had a vibrating note of revolt in its whisper, it had the appalling face of a glimpsed truth—the strange commingling of desire and hate." Even staring at his own death--"I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say." He finds he must defer to the evil, the thing with vision, even when the vision is a horror. Because, as we find in a subsequent effort launched by one of Kurtz' relatives, "Kurtz really couldn’t write a bit—‘but heavens! how that man could talk. He electrified large meetings. He had faith—don’t you see?—he had the faith. He could get himself to believe anything—anything. He would have been a splendid leader of an extreme party.’ " This is a description of Adolph, of Trump, of Putin. Now let them forever be first to "surrender to that oblivion which is the last word of our common fate." The conquering darkness has a beating heart.

In the final scene, the narrating person is returned to the homeland and is meeting with a heart-broken woman only named as The Intended. Their conversation is about Kurtz -- his "greatness", his great vision of his role in the world, his universal (but undocumented) talents and sacrifices. She was deeply mourning. "Ah, but I believed in him more than any one on earth—more than his own mother, more than—himself. He needed me! Me! I would have treasured every sigh, every word, every sign, every glance.’

“I felt like a chill grip on my chest. ‘Don’t,’ I said, in a muffled voice.

“‘Forgive me. I—I have mourned so long in silence—in silence.... You were with him—to the last? I think of his loneliness. Nobody near to understand him as I would have understood. Perhaps no one to hear....’

“‘To the very end,’ I said, shakily. ‘I heard his very last words....’ I stopped in a fright.

“‘Repeat them,’ she murmured in a heart-broken tone. ‘I want—I want—something—something—to—to live with.’ "

Of course this is the last remaining function we who survive must perform. And we end conversation with circumcision, and the ship must depart before the end of the ebb. I know of few conclusions more moving than this one, in its expansive and granular context: "I raised my head. The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky—seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness."
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LibraryThing member monapropertygirl
This book definitely put forth some very interesting notions, and Conrad clearly can deftly weave his words and create well-crafted sentences. But I found some parts... a lot of parts, something of a chore to read, and despite my careful reading, I still ended up with only a rough sketch of what I
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supposed it was about. Perhaps that's what's the charm, perhaps I have a limited understanding, I don't know. Perhaps I should pick this back up in a few years and see if it clicks for me then, but for the moment, I can't hold a very high opinion of this novella and can only thank Conrad for making it 100 pages.
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LibraryThing member booklove2
Joseph Conrad begins his 1902 novella by having the sub-narrator, Charlie Marlow, talk about the Romans conquest of England centuries before. "And this also has been one of the dark places of the earth." I found this a bit odd. The only thing I could think Conrad (or Marlow) was doing, was to
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justify invading Africa, since this was not first instance of colonization. That goes along with a doctor telling Marlow he would love "to watch the mental changes, on the spot" of people who travel to Africa. But I'm thinking... what about the Africans? They're the people being kidnapped and murdered and sold into slavery. What about THEIR mental changes? The book is pretty darn racist, but I guess some people still are today, a century plus later. I think Conrad was either ironically OR unconsciously matching the general racist thoughts of early 20th century people. If he went out pointing most reader's inherent racism in 1902, he might have lost a lot of his readers at the start. They wouldn't have finished the book. But it is hard to say what writers were thinking, especially writers so far in the past. I'm not entirely sure that the book is ABOUT even Africa, since the book mainly seems to be about a character named Kurtz (he is the only character actually given a name except for the sub-narrator), even if Kurtz is first met twenty pages near the end. The book seems to say the "wilderness" has affected him (and certainly not stealing large amounts of ivory and using less that savory means to go about doing that). So instead of Africa, the book is about a pretty horrible guy. Maybe that is why the book is so short. The modern library edition I have has an excellent piece by Chinua Achebe who can sum it up better than I can: "..there is a preposterous and perverse kind of arrogance in thus reducing Africa to the role of props for the breakup of one petty European mind." I'm glad that the modern library edition included Achebe's piece, even if he wasn't entirely complimentary to the book. He is one of the famous Afican writers, after all. The writing was wonderful at times, which is why I guess the book has survived so long. And it's still quite a puzzle.
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LibraryThing member SanctiSpiritus
The fiction, and the non-fiction. The prose are not for the unexperienced reader. Part of this great story explains of the ills of colonialism at the turn of the century. It posits probably, an accurate account of what one may have seen on the ground and "up country" at that time. Conrad certainly
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opens the pages of man's baseness, his sordidness. I eagerly anticipate reading his other works.
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LibraryThing member sarah_rubyred
The copy I read had a fantastic introduction, and contained footnotes referring to Conrad's own trip to the Congo, showing how much of this is autobiographical. I would recommend this version to anyone who, like me, read it own a whim with no real knowledge of how influential this writing was at
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the time.

In fact, my fictional reading of this subject is quite expansive, but my factual knowledge is poor. Reading this copy enabled me to be whisked away on a story and yet pad out my limited knowledge.

Marlowe is a sympathetic character, born of his time and yet forward-thinking, as is, I guess, Conrad. The images of unexplored Africa as a blank area on maps is exciting, and goes some way to explaining the intrepidation and fear that led these very male explorers to give the impressions that they did of such a peaceful, country.

Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member Rue_full
A life changing book for those with angst. In my top 5.
LibraryThing member fuzzi
I resolved to read this. I did so. The horror, the horror.
LibraryThing member Crowyhead
The first time I read this novel, in high school, I really hated it. Having re-read it since then, however, I've come to actually appreciate and enjoy it. It seemed so much longer back in 11th grade! The writing is still awfully dense and confusing in places, but I've come to realize that this is
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rightfully considered a masterpiece.
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LibraryThing member shirleybell
I enjoyed the claustrophic, intense feel of the narrative (reminded me somewhat of Frankenstein) although I am not at all sure I fully understood what was happening, all of the time. One day I will re-read this, and I am almost certain to give it 4 stars next time.
LibraryThing member cinesnail88
I understand the purpose of using this book for instruction, but I found that it had major flaws that ultimately led to my dislike of it. Not every book is for everyone, though, so don't pass it up on my account.
LibraryThing member soylentgreen23
But for the manner of its telling, this could have become one of my favourite books.

I'm already a big fan of Apocalypse Now, even though I realise there's only a tenuous link between the book and the film. I think the theory behind both is the same - a man lost in an alien land, in a culture that
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cannot be grasped, and the men sent to retrieve him. The horror, et cetera.

What I dislike is that the novel is narrated to us - it isn't just narrated, but we are one of a group of sailors sat around in the middle of the night listening to the story as it is told. Interjections are reported, interrupting the flow of the narrative, which itself is presented in the text with every line appearing in speech marks. Oh the horror indeed! Why did Conrad choose to make this such a painfully difficult book to read?
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LibraryThing member gazzy
A little adventure on a tramp steamer through the Congo.
LibraryThing member george.d.ross
Despite being a mere 100 pages long, parts of this book were as frustrating to slog through as the African jungle. Nevertheless, I'm glad I made it to through the wilderness to the palpable "horror" at the end. A book so deliciously overwrought with symbolism, I almost wish I had to write a paper
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on it.
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LibraryThing member frozenplums
I have never hated a book more. It was just. Awful. Plain and simple. I've never encountered a less accessible text where nothing happens. One star is generous.
LibraryThing member Erin14
"The horror! The horror!" Kurtz's final words in the "Heart of Darkness" stay with a reader for life. Marlow's navigation of the Congo in search of Kurtz is a journey through time, space, and mind. The ever present darkness in the jungle is not that of the native people but of the conquering
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Europeans who are evil and devoid of ethics and morality. They are driven by greed and in search of Ivory. They obtain it by whatever means necessary.
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LibraryThing member tloeffler
I tried really hard to read this book and absolutely could not get past the first 30 pages. I felt stupid because it's supposed to be such a classic book, but it just made no sense to me whatsoever.




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