Marlow, a seaman and wanderer, recounts his physical and psychological journey in search of the infamous ivory trader Kurtz. Traveling up river to the heart of the African continent, he gradually becomes obsessed by this enigmatic, wraith-like figure. A haunting and hugely influential Modernist masterpiece, Heart of Darkness explores the limits of human experience as well as the nightmarish realities of imperialism. Part of a major series of new editions of Conrad's most famous works in Penguin Classics, this Enriched eBook contains Conrad's Congo Diary.Enriched eBook Features Editor Timothy S. Hayes provides the following specially commissioned features for this Enriched eBook Classic:* Filmography* Telling Africas Story Today: Recent Films About Africa* Contemporary Reviews of Heart of Darkness* Further Reading* Character Sketches* Diagram of a Typical Congo Steamer, ca. 1890* Images of the Congo* Enriched eBook NotesThe enriched eBook format invites readers to go beyond the pages of these beloved works and gain more insight into the life and times of an author and the period in which the book was originally written for a rich reading experience.
I Recommend the Trilogy
By Giordano Bruno - April 29, 2009
"Heart of Darkness" was originally published as the second of a trilogy of novellas structured as the 'three stages' of a human life. I have understood this 'challenging' story much better since I re-read it in that context. Here's my review of the whole trilogy.
Three Stages of Man... Seaman, at Any Rate: The three long stories in this volume include two of Joseph Conrad's most familiar - Youth & Heart of Darkness - which have been detached anthologized and assigned to high school lit classes ad nauseam, but in fact the three were published together in 1902 under the title "Youth: a Narrative, and Two Other Stories." Conrad scholars maintain that the author originally intended "Lord Jim" to be the third of three tales told in the voice of Captain Marlow, but that Lord Jim got too massive on its own account, necessitating the substitution of "The End of the Tether," a classic third person narration. "Youth" marked Marlow's debut as a narrator within a narration,... read more
Literature as Philosophical Anthropology
By Chris Dacus - October 5, 2008
Conrad's novella contains an almost endless fount of symbolic allusions. One of the most important series of allusions occurs early (in the frame narrative) and ties the symbolism of darkness, finitude, the mystery of the labyrinth and death to the images of the lunar cycle, the tide, yarn and narrative.
"The yarns of seaman have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted) and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel, but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine" (6).
Conrad appears to be indicating that the seaman is closer to the "state of nature" because of his intimate relationship with the primal cycle of the tide (eternal recurrence). Melville certainly indicates... read more
It Didn't Grab My Heart
By Chris "Okie" - April 14, 2009
I'm somewhat torn. The English Major in me would really like to give this book a higher rating. The reader in me has a hard time doing so.
I read this book back in High School and could honestly not remember anything about the plot, the reading or the discussions aside from the fact that the story was about some guy on a boat going deep into Africa and that I distinctly remembered struggling to stay awake while reading it.
I thought that approaching it a second time as a seasoned English Major would result in a better perspective. Admittedly, I think I got more out of the plot this time and see much more depth and symbolism in the book...but I still found myself struggling to stay awake at times.
What's sad is that this is not necessarily a slow paced or boring book. It's filled with exploration, political intrigue, violent deaths, savage attacks and other moments of suspense and tension. And yet, it is also filled with lengthy monologues on the... read more