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Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (Oxford World's Classics)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2006
The story "Heart of Darkness" (N.B. without `the') is a classic: a fascinating insight into the exploration and exploitation of Africa. Conrad can be hard to read, but it is well worth the effort: his language is masterful and his symbolism poignant. He manages to evoke the horrors of entering a dangerous and often absurd world, superbly using literary techniques (story-within-a-story, delayed decoding, etc) to bring tension and realism to the reader. He is critical of European imperialism (which was highly controversial when the book was published) and intentionally lays bare the hideous treatment the blacks received.

There are two films based on this book ("Heart of Darkness" and "Apocalypse Now") but neither of them manages to depict the feeling Conrad manages to put down here.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2007
In my 1989 edition of Hamlyn's Dictionary of Quotations, Conrad is afforded only three spots, one of which is from Heart of Darkness, and that one the cursory and flat 'Mistah Kurtz-he dead'. I have always thought this unforgivable when the editor had so very much to choose from in 'Heart' alone. Try this: 'Glamour urged him on, glamour kept him unscathed'; or: 'it was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice'.
There are lines in Conrad's work which are as condensed and ripe with meaning as the very best poetry. He can condense nineteen hundred years of Christian civilisation into barely a quarter of a page: 'I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil: the fool is too much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil-I don't know which. Or you may be such a thunderingly exalted creature as to be altogether deaf and blind to anything but heavenly sights and sounds. Then the earth for you is only a standing place-and whether to be like this is your loss or your gain I won't pretend to say.'
In Kurtz, Conrad produced a character who will live forever in English literature, and deserves to.
Conrad was the first truly modern writer of fiction. All the more remarkable in that English was, I believe, neither his first or his second language, but his third. Incidentally, the reader may safely ignore the occasional accusation levelled at 'Heart of Darkness' and Conrad that it and he is essentially racist. Nonsense.
My Oxford World's Classics imprint includes 'An Outpost of Progress', 'Karain', and 'Youth'. 'Karain' is the finest of the others in this volume, with, again, some wonderful quotable lines: 'as if a dead world had been laid to rest in a grave of clouds'; 'He spoke of her with fury in the daytime, with sorrow in the dark'; 'she bent her face over me-the face of a woman who ravishes the hearts and silences the reason of men'. Isn't that last one lovely? Summing up in one line the dangers of obsessive love.
But let's return to 'Heart of Darkness' one more time and remember: 'We live as we dream-alone. . . .'
Read it and read it again. There's always more to be gleaned from Conrad.

Michael Cope, 20 October, 2007
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2007
I really enjoyed all four stories in this collection and would recommend this edition over others for that reason.

The first story "Outpost of Progress" is very interesting, and also very short, but has a very good twist at the end and in general complements "Heart of Darkness" well.

"Karian" has a much slower pace then the others, but is very descriptive and once again the story's development is very good.

"Youth" to is a very good story, and in this edition, also complements "Heart of Darkness" in that it introduces Marlow and his friends.

Finally, "Heart of Darkness" is rightfully one of Conrad's most famous stories, as the suspense and menace that is built up through the story makes it.
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on 2 December 2013
I chose 5 star rating because I thought Heart of Darkness was excellent. Conrad has an amazing command of English, his style , vocabulary and powerfully evocative descriptions far supersede many native English writers.
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on 30 April 2014
This is a well book at a really good price. I am very happy with this purchase. Very happy !
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on 24 January 2015
Amazing book. A classic. Harrowing and beautifully written. An absolute must read.
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on 24 June 2015
Good for my uni studies
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on 26 December 2014
Brilliant
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on 26 January 2015
Good buy
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on 19 November 2014
Good
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