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Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness (original 1902; edition 1990)

by Joseph Conrad, Stanley Appelbaum (Editor)

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15,539222118 (3.58)2 / 947
Title:Heart of Darkness
Authors:Joseph Conrad
Other authors:Stanley Appelbaum (Editor)
Info:Dover Publications (1990), Edition: Green Edition, Paperback, 72 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:classic, modern

Work details

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1902)

Recently added byprivate library, ievris, CandaJaen, mhassen, SharronA, aktgw, mrsreadsbooks, Kajola, stgemma
  1. 181
    King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild (baobab, chrisharpe)
  2. 90
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (baobab, WSB7)
    WSB7: Both about "colonialisms" abuses in the Congo, among other themes.
  3. 71
    The Quiet American by Graham Greene (browner56)
    browner56: Powerful, suspenseful fictional accounts of the intended and unintended consequences of colonial rule
  4. 82
    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (SanctiSpiritus)
  5. 51
    Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline (gust)
  6. 51
    State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (DetailMuse)
    DetailMuse: Includes a quest for a Kurtz-like character.
  7. 30
    Max Havelaar: Or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company by Multatuli (JustJoey4)
    JustJoey4: Both books focus on the ugly sides of colonialism.
  8. 20
    Exterminate All the Brutes by Sven Lindqvist (Polaris-)
  9. 20
    The Roots of Heaven by Romain Gary (ursula)
  10. 20
    The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa (gust)
  11. 20
    Downward to the Earth by Robert Silverberg (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Silverberg was inspired by Conrad's story to write Downward to Earth and makes some interesting comments on the themes that Conrad explores.
  12. 20
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (Sylak)
    Sylak: Delving the depths of human savagery and corruption.
  13. 20
    The African Queen by C. S. Forester (Cecilturtle)
  14. 20
    The Sea Wolf by Jack London (wvlibrarydude)
  15. 10
    Headhunter by Timothy Findley (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: "Headhunter" is a clever and well written fantasy on the theme of Kurtz.
  16. 10
    Fly Away Peter by David Malouf (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad may be paired with Fly Away Peter by David Malouf as both authors show human nature to be hollow to the core.
  17. 21
    The Royal Way by André Malraux (thatguyzero)
  18. 10
    The Beach by Alex Garland (TomWaitsTables)
  19. 10
    Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa by Jason Stearns (Anonymous user)
  20. 43
    Congo: The Epic History of a People by David Van Reybrouck (gust, Jozefus)
    Jozefus: Bekroond werk over de geschiedenis van Congo, dat door The Independent een "masterpiece" genoemd werd.

(see all 26 recommendations)

1890s (11)

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English (197)  Spanish (7)  German (3)  Italian (3)  Catalan (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  Tagalog (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Galician (1)  All languages (222)
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Many years ago when I was in high school Victory by Joseph Conrad was on the curriculum. I would like to know who thought that was an appropriate piece of literature for 16 and 17 year olds. I hated it and I have shied away from anything by Conrad ever since. However, I decided to give this book a listen since it was available as a download from my library's electronic site. I may have done Conrad a disservice all those years ago because Heart of Darkness, while never going to be in my top reads of all time list, is well written. I may have to go back to Victory and see what I think of it now.

A group of old friends are on board a ship in the Thames estuary. As night falls one of the men, Marlow, tells the tale of his time as a riverboat captain on an African river (surely the Congo). Usually a salt water sailor Marlow decided to take a job on fresh water so he could see something of the interior of Africa. He was hired on by a large European concern to pilot the riverboat up the river to supply their stations and collect the ivory the stations had obtained. From the beginning he heard about the mysterious Mr. Kurtz who had been in charge of a station far up the river for several years. Kurtz sent quantities of ivory to the Central Station but never appears himself. He is so successful at getting ivory that the station manager fears Kurtz may be promoted over him. As Marlow hears more and more about Kurtz he longs to meet him. When he finally does reach Kurtz's station he finds that Kurtz is very ill and that he is surrounded by a tribe of natives who revere Kurtz. Kurtz is brought on board the ship and Marlow listens to Kurtz as they return downriver. Kurtz entrusts Marlow with a packet of materials and then dies. His last words are "The horror, the horror". Is Kurtz referring to his interactions with the natives, some of whom he killed and impaled their heads on posts around his hut? This man who lived among the natives for a long time did not seem to have a very high opinion of them. He wrote a pamphlet about civilizing the natives but ended it by writing "Exterminate all the brutes". A year later, after Marlow had recovered from his own debilitating illness, Marlow goes to visit Kurtz's fiancee and gives her some items that Kurtz had entrusted with him. When asked what Kurtz's last words were Marlow lies and tells her it was her own name.

This book certainly shows the casual use of violence by so-called civilized men and the disdain they feel for the Africans. Even Kurtz, who Marlow has been told is exemplary, seemed to think nothing of slaughtering men in pursuit of ivory. When the riverboat is leaving Kurtz's station the natives who had revered Kurtz massed on the shore to pay their respects. Marlow noticed that the men on board (whom he refers to as pilgrims which always made me think of John Wayne everytime I heard it) were readying their guns to shoot them. Marlow frightened the natives away by blowing the ship's whistle much to the annoyance of the men who were looking for some "good shooting".

This is a disturbing book but I am glad I have now "read" it. ( )
  gypsysmom | Sep 15, 2016 |
I think I just didn't get this... Why are all classics both depressing and on this side of boring... And the paragraphs Would. Not. End. Every time I read a "darkness" reference I wanted to roll my eyes. ( )
  GoldenDarter | Sep 15, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book but don't think I fully appreciated it for what it is. I allowed myself to become immersed in a wonderful story without ever looking below the surface of the story, despite the fact that I could see something written there. I'll have to re-read this at a later date. ( )
  benuathanasia | Sep 10, 2016 |
Marlow recounts his time as a steamer captain in the interior of Africa; and his meet-up with the enigmatic Kurtz. The story is caustic in tone and raw in setting; and it's hard not to picture 'Apocalypse Now' while the story spools out; but it's a rich evocative story more than capably narrated by Kenneth Branagh. Celebrity narrators can be an issue; but he tells the story with just a touch of color, without over-doing it. ( )
  Tanya-dogearedcopy | Aug 21, 2016 |
Beautifully written, rich, rich imagery, totally absorbing.

I really don't want to waste anything about it for anyone, except to tell you to please read it. It won't take you long and it's entirely worth it. One, perhaps slightly odd, thing I will note is that the narrative style really reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald, in particular The Great Gatsby. I'm not sure why, given that the subject matter and time period are so vastly different - I think it's the dynamic between the two male leads. ( )
  thebookmagpie | Aug 7, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (102 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Conrad, Josephprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Branagh, KennethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butcher, TimIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kish, MattIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Prey, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pirè, LucianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vancells i Flotats, MontserratTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watts, CedricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness / Almayer's Folly / The Lagoon by Joseph Conrad

Youth / Heart of Darkness / Typhoon / The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad

Seven Great British Short Novels by Philip Rahv

Great Modern Short Stories by Grant Overton

Youth | Heart of Darkness | The End of the Tether by Joseph Conrad

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The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come to and wait for the turn of the tide.
"The horror! The horror!"
"And this also," said Marlow suddenly, "has been one of the dark places of the earth."
"What you say is rather profound, and probably erroneous," he said, with a laugh.
I've seen the devil of violence, and the devil of greed, and the devil of hot desire...these were strong, lusty, red-eyed devils, that swayed men - men, I tell you. But as I stood on this hillside, I foresaw that in the blinding sunshine of that land I would become acquainted with a flabby, pretending, weak-eyed devil of a rapacious and pitiless folly.
And outside, the silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth, waiting patiently for the passing away of this fantastic invasion.
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Book description
This is story of Marlow and his quest to find Mr Kurtz within the dense jungles of Africa. His journey challenges his values and life and reveals new sides of himself that only darkness could expose.
Haiku summary
King Leopold's fans
appreciate this tribute;
Mister Kurtz, he dead.

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

Marlow comes face to face with the corruption and despair that lies at the heart of human existence when he undertakes a journey on behalf of a Belgian trading company up the Congo River in search of the tormented white ivory trader, Kurtz.

(summary from another edition)

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34 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441674, 0143106589, 014356644X, 0241956803, 0141199784

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100615, 1400108462

Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1909175978, 1909175986

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