- Paperback: 78 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (29 Nov. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1503275922
- ISBN-13: 978-1503275928
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.5 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Heart of Darkness Paperback – 29 Nov 2014
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As powerful a condemnation of imperialism as has ever been written (Observer) --abc
Once experienced, it is hard to let Heart of Darkness go. A masterpiece of surprise, of expression and psychological nuance, of fury at colonial expansion and of how men make the least of life . . . endlessly readable and worthy of rereading (Telegraph) --abc
About the Author
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born British novelist, who became a British subject in 1886. He is regarded as one of the greatest novelists in English though he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties (and then always with a marked Polish accent). He wrote stories and novels, predominantly with a nautical or seaboard setting, that depict trials of the human spirit by the demands of duty and honor. Conrad was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly non-English tragic sensibility into English literature. While some of his works have a strain of romanticism, he is viewed as a precursor of modernist literature; his narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many subsequent authors. Films have been adapted from or inspired by Conrad's Victory, Lord Jim, The Secret Agent, An Outcast of the Islands, The Duel, Heart of Darkness, and Nostromo. Writing in the heyday of the British Empire, Conrad drew upon his experiences in the French and later the British Merchant Navy to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a worldwide empire while also plumbing the depths of the human soul. (wikipedia)
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Top Customer Reviews
He’s speculating how the first Roman invaders must have felt sailing up the river into the unfamiliar British terrain in an inhospitable climate populated by savage natives; an interesting parallel to his own experience captaining a river steamboat up the Congo to ‘relieve’ the resident of a remote ivory trading post.
The man at the centre of the mission is the charismatic Mr Kurtz whose trading prowess is second to none due in part to a skill in oratory that gives him a Messianic quality that spellbinds colleagues and natives alike. In fact the natives are so devoted they don’t want him to leave.
Marlow’s engagement, induction and voyage up river is recounted; with hard-nosed detachment as far the physical dangers are concerned, but with more circumspection as regards the psychological pressures that emanate from the jungle beyond the riverbank – the continent’s heart of darkness. He can begin to understand how a white man may succumb to “the fascination of the abomination” that can be found there and be prey to “the growing regret, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate”.
The immensely powerful language (quoted to do it justice) gives the novella the feel of a horror story; as it is – but there’s nothing supernatural here, it is all horribly, if unfamiliarly natural in the time and place that was Equatorial Africa in the time of colonisation.Read more ›
The book deals with colonisation and its cruelty. And that's how it ought to be read. One ought not to expect a happy ending or a story of redemption and freedom. Or any romantic feelings of adventure and escape. Or characters one would be able to identify with. This isn't a book you will "like" or "love" - it's a book that will haunt you. It's a book that will shock you - a book that demonstrates how "respectable" persons can rationalise human brutality.
In the West many people were convinced that that colonization was almost a philanthropic endeavour that brought redemption and civilization to the savage natives. One could say that we are still hold this belief as we invade countries around the world such as Iraq (only this time we use "Democracy" and mythic WMD as our motto as we torture people, bomb cities and steal oil).
The book is narrated by Charles Marlow, a sailor/ skipper who Captains a boat for an ivory trading company along the Congo River. The scenery, the uncertainty and darkness of the Congo jungles creates an eerie atmosphere which becomes embedded to the story. Usually the thought of jungles in tropical locations would induce me to thoughts of beautiful nature and exotic holidays. However, in this instance it came across as sinister.
The author uses prose, which although I wouldn't describe as subtle, it's far from descriptive, in order to convey the cruelty and inhumane methods used by the Colonist against the natives.Read more ›
I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed. While on the surface the book is a study, if not a criticism, of colonialism, at its heart, if you'll excuse the pun, is an examination of the most savage aspects of the human condition. Conrad presents the story in an interesting story-within-a-story format and I'm not sure there would be a more effective possible way of telling it.
As wonderful as the book is, it is not perfect. My chief criticism would be that the charisma, for want of a better word, of Kurtz is conveyed more through the opinion of the narrator than his words or actions within the story. Perhaps it is an unfair comparison but the character just doesn't have the same presence he had in Apocalypse Now, either when present or absent from a scene.
Overall, this book absolutely deserves its status as a classic and is well worth a read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have already reviewed this and do not intend to repeat myself.Published 1 month ago by Tug Wilson
I got this as a free book on Kindle, mostly on the principle that the author isn't around to get his fair share of any payment that might be involved! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Belisarius0365
It is well written. The idea of a storyteller in the story is not unique but very effective. We could ponder over the word darkness for quite some time. Read morePublished 2 months ago by bernie
I recently re-read this - it's not my favourite Conrad (Lord Jim or Youth are higher on that list) but as a piece of work, it retains its power because the key themes are as... Read morePublished 3 months ago by TimintheMatrix
Bleak, as only Conrad can be. Not an enjoyable read but still a good read for all the bleakness and despair.Published 3 months ago by Baronbill
I wonder if Conrad had read the Robert Louis Stevenson short story about a similar megalomaniac, this time a pearl fishing religious obsessive slavedriver in the South Seas. Read morePublished 4 months ago
Very much a book of its time. Hard going in places and many times you will need to go over a sentence to work it out but all told, it's not a bad little story. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Keith