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Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Editions)…
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Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Editions) (original 1902; edition 2005)

by Joseph Conrad, Paul B. Armstrong (Editor)

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2,788193,050 (3.73)15
Member:jasonpettus
Title:Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Editions)
Authors:Joseph Conrad
Other authors:Paul B. Armstrong (Editor)
Info:W.W. Norton & Co. (2005), Edition: 4th, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Heart of Darkness [Norton Critical Edition] by Joseph Conrad (1902)

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English (18)  Catalan (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Classic tale of colonialism and the descent of man into savagery ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness takes readers on a journey up the Congo River and into the middle of a postcolonial wrangle. One of the things at odds in this book is the European thought process of what is considered civilized versus what is uncivilized. The colonizers, also known as the cultured and proper Europeans, exist is a world where the African people and culture that they have colonized is understood only in negative terms. The light and dark imagery, and white versus black race illustrations that Conrad presents depict a clear division of power and control. The white colonizers hold all the power while the black “creatures” (Conrad 17) are beaten and starved into submission by their handlers.

Some readers might believe, because of the nature of repetition in literature, that the differences between East and West are as plain as Conrad describes, the savage in contrast to the cultivated. Others might look back on history and see the dampening of the African culture as necessary for civilized advancements instead of dishonorable and inhuman. Still others might agree with the treatment of the marginalized in this book as necessary for the greater good. A close read of Heart of Darkness might also expose another meaning to Marlow’s account of that trip up river. Perhaps Conrad wants the reader to question the validity of imperialism. Noorbakhsh Hooti and Masoud Mousaabad posit this and suggest that Conrad’s use of irony “leaves something unveiled…for the reader which does not necessarily go with the positive side of imperialism, but tries to help the reader to unveil the reality of imperialistic practices” (63). An example can be found in Chapter 1 as Marlow waits in the Station. “Strings of dusty niggers with splay feet arrived and departed; a stream of manufactured goods, rubbishy cottons, beads, and brass-wire set into the depths of darkness, and in return came a precious trickle of ivory” (Conrad 18), indicating that the primary concern, the primary goal, is to obtain more ivory even when the trade is for human beings here described as something below mankind. Here Conrad unveils the domination of a people in the name of colonization.

Conrad also uses the environment of the Congo to present a dark image of Africa that reflects back upon the actions of the colonizers. From Marlow’s first encounter with the Station that he describes as a “scene of inhabited devastation” (15) to the dark wilderness he experiences as he travels up river, never is there a period of calm or order that might be associated with European civilization. The environment Conrad describes is in exact disagreement with a civilized society. “It manifests as an unrestrained savagery which by its very nature threatens as a massive presence that will block the imposition of civilized order” (Brown). The darkness seems to deepen and the environment appears to envelope anyone or anything that attempts to change it. Because Marlow tells this story as he sits on the Thames River readers can surmise the similarities between the Congo and the Thames, and on a greater level Europe and Africa.

So what is one to think of Conrad after reading Heart of Darkness? Is he a racist and pro-imperialism or does he tell his story through Marlow in an attempt to expose the injustices of this system of dominance. Michael Lackey points out that if it can be “shown that Marlow is a racist, then we can conclude that Conrad is a racist” (1), because the two speak as one throughout the novel. Marlow is never at ease though with the events that unfold on his journey, perhaps callous and indifferent but never really okay with his surroundings. Marlow’s restlessness and dwindling enthusiasm show that he is as trapped and disempowered as the oppressed African’s of the Congo. ( )
  BadCursive | Feb 10, 2014 |
This was an interesting book to read, following closely on the heels of one of my last reads of 2012, the nonfiction book King Leopold's Ghost. Heart of Darkness itself is the long short story or novella that gives some of Conrad's observations of his 6 month trip through the Congo. To be honest, the book itself didn't do much for me. I appreciated some of the literary techniques, such as the embedded narrator and the way he uses descriptive language. However, that descriptive language was also the book's downfall for me personally. It kept me too far removed from the actual story (or what I wanted to be the actual story)- the interaction between the native people who inhabited the region known as the Congo and the white explorers, colonists, invaders, whatever you want to call them! Instead this read as more of one man's obsession with the idea of another, Kurtz. I just didn't get that into it. I felt oddly that as much as the Congo should have been the main point of the book, the actual story could have really taken place anywhere and that bothered me.

However, the text of the book itself only comprised 77 pages of this 504 page critical edition. I did not read every essay word for word, but for the most part they were interesting and enlightening. Included are encyclopedia entries from the time the book was written, essays on race from the time period by people like Hegel and Darwin, contemporary responses to Heart of Darkness, and then more current essays on racism and sexism in the book and its worth as far as being read now. I haven't done this kind of in depth study on a book in quite some time and I enjoyed it, especially with a book that has caused as much controversy as this one. ( )
  japaul22 | Apr 18, 2013 |
Book Circle Reads 19

Rating: 3 stars of five

The Book Description: More than a century after its publication (1899), Heart of Darkness remains an indisputably classic text and arguably Conrad's finest work.

This extensively revised Norton Critical Edition includes new materials that convey nineteenth-century attitudes toward imperialism as well as the concerns of Conrad's contemporaries about King Leopold's exploitation of his African domain. New to the Fourth Edition are excerpts from Adam Hochschild's recent book, King Leopold's Ghost, and from Sir Roger Casement's influential "Congo Report" on Leopold's atrocities. "Backgrounds and Contexts" also provides readers with a collection of photographs and a map that bring the Congo Free State to life.

A new section, "Nineteenth-Century Attitudes toward Race," includes writings by, among others, Hegel, Darwin, and Sir Francis Galton. New essays by Patrick Brantlinger, Marianna Torgovnik, Edward W. Said, Hunt Hawkins, Anthony Fothergill, and Paul Armstrong debate Chinua Achebe's controversial indictment of the novel's depiction of Africans and offer differing views about whether Conrad's beliefs about race were progressive or retrograde.

A rich selection of writings by Conrad on his life in the Congo is accompanied by extensive excerpts from his essays about art and literature. "Criticism" presents a wealth of new materials on Heart of Darkness, including contemporary responses by Henry James, E.M. Forster, Ford Madox Ford, and Virginia Woolf. Recent critical assessments by Peter Brooks, Jeremy Hawthorn, Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan, Andrew Michael Roberts, J. Hillis Miller, and Lissa Schneider cover a ranger of topics, from narrative theory to philosophy and sexuality. Also new to the Fourth Edition is a selection of writings on the connections between the novel and the film Apocalypse Now.

This Norton Critical Edition is again based on Robert Kimbrough's meticulously re-edited text of the novel. An expanded Textual Appendix allows the reader to follow Conrad's revisions at different stages of the creative process. A Chronology has been added, and the Selected Bibliography has been revised and updated.

My Review: Had I not read the critical edition of this book, I wouldn't have given it three stars. It's dense and chewy prose. It's a bleak story. It's Conrad's most famous and most lasting work because it's so astounding that a man of his era could be this perceptive and say so publicly! Oh, there was much tut-tutting at the time about the awfulness of Congo Free State's condition, but it was disingenuous at best and cynically political at worst. Conrad wrote a human response to a human horror, and he did so by making a White Man out to be Wrong!!!!!

Cue gasps! And start the applause.

But it is a slog to read, short though it might be. Simply put, Conrad spoke English as a third, yes THIRD language. He did an extraordinary thing, writing in his third language, but to me it felt like it was his third about half the time.

Still and all, I am quite pleased to have read the Norton Critical Edition, and to have a real sense of the book's revolutionary place. Quite a good use of my limited number of eyeblinks. ( )
  richardderus | Dec 31, 2012 |
This is a novel about one man's experience in the Belgium Congo during colonialism. The main character shows how badly the native people were treated. This novel should only be read by high school seniors. It is too dense for any other grade level to follow along. It can be used to show what colonialism meant to different countries. It is a classic novel and can be compared to the movie Apocalypse Now.
  jreinheimer | Sep 27, 2010 |
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Kimbrough, RobertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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...But the Dwarf answered: "No; something human is dearer to me than the wealth of all the world." -- GRIMM'S TALES
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The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails and was at rest.
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Do Not Combine: This is a "Norton Critical Edition", it is a unique work with significant added material, including essays and background materials. Do not combine with other editions of the work. Please maintain the phrase "Norton Critical Edition" in the Canonical Title and Publisher Series fields.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393926362, Paperback)

The Fourth Edition is again based on Robert Kimbrough’s meticulously re-edited text.

Missing words have been restored and the entire novel has been repunctuated in accordance with Conrad’s style. The result is the first published version of Heart of Darkness that allows readers to hear Marlow’s voice as Conrad heard it when he wrote the story. "Backgrounds and Contexts" provides readers with a generous collection of maps and photographs that bring the Belgian Congo to life. Textual materials, topically arranged, address nineteenth-century views of imperialism and racism and include autobiographical writings by Conrad on his life in the Congo. New to the Fourth Edition is an excerpt from Adam Hochschild’s recent book, King Leopold’s Ghost, as well as writings on race by Hegel, Darwin, and Galton. "Criticism" includes a wealth of new materials, including nine contemporary reviews and assessments of Conrad and Heart of Darkness and twelve recent essays by Chinua Achebe, Peter Brooks, Daphne Erdinast-Vulcan, Edward Said, and Paul B. Armstrong, among others. Also new to this edition is a section of writings on the connections between Heart of Darkness and the film Apocalypse Now by Louis K. Greiff, Margot Norris, and Lynda J. Dryden. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:13 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The Fourth Edition is again based on Robert Kimbrough's meticulously re-edited text. Missing words have been restored and the entire novel has been re-punctuated in accordance with Conrad's style. The result is the first published version of Heart of Darkness that allows readers to hear Marlow's voice as Conrad heard it when he wrote the story. "Backgrounds and Contexts" provides readers with a generous collection of maps and photographs that bring the Belgian Congo to life. Textual materials, topically arranged, address nineteenth-century views of imperialism and racism and include autobiographical writings by Conrad on his life in the Congo. New to the Fourth Edition is an excerpt from Adam Hochschild's recent book, King Leopold's Ghost, as well as writings on race by Hegel, Darwin, and Galton. "Criticism" includes a wealth of new materials, including nine contemporary reviews and assessments of Conrad and Heart of Darkness and twelve recent essays by Chinua Achebe, Peter Brooks, Daphne Erdinast-Vulcan, Edward Said, and Paul B. Armstrong, among others. Also new to this edition is a section of writings on the connections between Heart of Darkness and the film Apocalypse Now by Louis K. Greiff, Margot Norris, and Lynda J. Dryden. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included. About the Series: No other series of classic texts equals the caliber of the Norton Critical Editions. Each volume combines the most authoritative text available with the comprehensive pedagogical apparatus necessary to appreciate the work fully. Careful editing, first-rate translation, and thorough explanatory annotations allow each text to meet the highest literary standards while remaining accessible to students. Each edition is printed on acid-free paper and every text in the series remains in print. Norton Critical Editions are the choice for excellence in scholarship for students at more than 2,000 universities worldwide.… (more)

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