Heart of Darkness
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Heart of Darkness

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  25,422 ratings  ·  1,720 reviews
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. Th
Paperback, 108 pages
Published November 2nd 2006 by 1st World Library (first published 1899)
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Sonanova
Jul 10, 2007 Sonanova rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: someone who enjoys a good tenth level of hell
Proving yet again that doing a concept first will get you immortalized, while doing it WELL will make you an unknown and forgotten writer at best, I also learned that in Conrad's time, people could drone on and on with metaphors and it wasn't considered cliched, but "art." I blame this book and others like it for some of the most painful literature created by students and professional writers alike.

It was like raking my fingernails across a chalkboard while breathing in a pail of flaming cat hai...more
Megha

It was a breathtaking read. There are few books which make such a powerful impression as 'Heart of darkness' does. Written more than a century ago, the book and its undying theme hold just as much significance even today. Intense and compelling, it looks into the darkest recesses of human nature. Conrad takes the reader through a horrific tale in a very gripping voice.

I couldn't say enough about Conrad's mastery of prose. Not a single word is out of place. Among several things, I liked Marlow ex...more
Jenny Zhang
This guy's message is so subtle: Africans are depraved/we are all depraved/since I don't care about black people I'm going to let them serve as a metaphor for the depravity of human existence/I like writing sentences that yawn with the utter boredom of pretension, pomp, and waste/I have no heart/that's why I had to put the word heart in the title, etc, etc, etc.

Where's the negative one million stars option, again?
Riku Sayuj
Nov 24, 2012 Riku Sayuj rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Tanuj Solanki
Shelves: favorites, r-r-rs
This was probably the toughest book I've read to date.


Revisiting The Heart of Darkness


After passing past that Castle of Ego,

Laying siege on the very borders of Mind,

We entered the vast and bristling forests,

Of that strange, strange land, that Id,

Which doth divide the knowing, waking,

From the land of dreaming, unknowing.

But this way is much too hard to follow;

And is harder even to describe to you:

We are more likely here to perish,

Here in these vast, dense hinterlands;

For these woods that we see a...more
George Bradford
When I was a child, my father caught me frowning at a very small gift wrapped package I'd received. The dashed hopes for a larger package were broadcast across my face.

"Dynamite comes in small packages." My father counseled me. The literal and figurative truth of this statement has revealed itself throughout my life.

This story is specifically relevant to Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. It is a small book. (Surprisingly small.) And it is pure dynamite. (Super powerful dynamite!)

Conrad later wr...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Book Circle Reads 19

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: 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 r...more
Keely
Like contemporaries Haggard and Melville, Joseph Conrad lived the adventures he wrote. He left his native Ukraine to escape the political persecution of his family and became a merchant marine in France, sailing to the West Indies and gun-running for a failed Spanish coup. Soon after, he learned English and became a british citizen, eventually attaining the position of Master Mariner. Had his story ended there, he might have become merely a footnote in history: a successful seaman and minor writ...more
Taka
It's OK--

This is the first time I read Conrad after hearing how much of a prose stylist he is and comparisons to Nabokov (something he himself denied with a characteristic quip, "I differ from Conradically"). He is most definitely a prose stylist of the first rank. But in this heavily symbolic book, he is not much of a storyteller. Nothing really happens in the first half. Granted, the observations Charles Marlow makes throughout are fascinating and I was floored by some of them. The second half...more
Kim

Once again I change my mind about a book I didn't like very much the first time I read it more than thirty-five years ago. Even then I appreciated that it was a signficant literary work, but I didn't respond to it emotionally. If anything, it struck me as a dull.

This time around, my reaction was quite different. I didn't find it dull at all. Rather, I found the experience very powerful, both intellectually and emotionally. Part of that may be due to the fact that over the years I've experienced...more
Manny
Sep 15, 2011 Manny marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, Round 1: The Essential Calvin and Hobbes versus Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness doesn't even bother to show up, but sends its kid sister, Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death . Calvin and Hobbes laugh scornfully, but their jeers soon become screams of terror as the Cannibal Women tie them up and eat them alive with guacamole and corn chips.
Leslie
I know as an English major I am supposed to find this work brilliant and important, but I just don't. I hate it. I hated it the first time I read it, the second time I read it, AND the third time I read it.
Marvin
Written for the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament

I, Marlow, was recently commissioned by Christopher Robin to go into the Hundred Acre Wood to investigate the stoppage of honey exports from the area. It has been rumored that Pooh Bear has become seclusive and was possibly hoarding the honey.

I set out on the Storybook River in a rickety steamer. The trip was dangerous and arduous. At one point, we were attacked by a tribe of Oompa Oopmas who threw chocolate at us. I immediately realized we...more
Lauren
I don't think I've ever loved a book this much and disliked so much of what's inside it at the same time. I read Heart of Darkness when I was 16 and straight after had to write an essay on whether it was a racist text (a response to Chinua Achebe's 'An Image of Africa' essay). Said a lot about the importance of context and that Marlow wasn't Conrad and that for all the racist imagery and language, the book was actually a damning criticism of racist ideology and colonialism--or some-such.
Anyway I...more
Traveller
Many people seem to think that this story is just about racism, but that is missing the main point. It is true that much of Conrad's fiction seems racist in tone, but one must take that from whence it comes; he was writing at a time when European Colonialism, (and sadly racism too) was in full swing. It is of course inevitable that writers will reflect some of the mores of their era, and also that some writers will examine the prevailing mores and comment on them.

However, the inner message of th...more
Dave
I'm sure there are many redeeming qualities and philosophies to be absorbed from this book. However, it really is the absolutely most boring read I have ever attempted to undertake. I should probably give it another chance before condemning it to 2 stars...but, this book seriously made my mind drift away to unrelated places and topics more frequently than any other book I can remember. I would almost rather read Shakespeare backwards on a rollercoaster than pick this one up again.
Madeline
Confusing as hell. Just rent Apocalypse Now and pretend you read the book. Just remember to change a few details: 1) the setting is Africa, not Vietnam. 2) Kurtz is an ivory trader. He is not in the army. 3) Kurtz does not get killed; he gets sick and dies. 4) There are no puppies.
That's pretty much it.

Read for: 12th grade AP English
Melissa (ladybug)
From Goodreads:
Dark allegory describes the narrator's journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region...
My feelings on Heart of Darkness:
The book is suspense filled and very descriptive, almost too much description. Joseph Conrad really didn't leave anything to the imagination on this dark tale of Europe's Colonialism period. The tale took place in Africa, and I found it to be a good read....more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 12, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Tata J
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books and 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Shelves: 1001-core, apartheid, race
This is my first time to have read a novel by Joseph Conrad and I am floored. This novel is famous for the last words uttered by the main antagonist, Mr. Krutz: "The horror! The horror!" and was made into a movie by Francis Ford Coppola and filmed partly in Pagsanjan Falls in 1979. The title of the movie was Apocalypse Now starring Marlon Brando as Krutz and Martin Sheen as Millard or Marlow in this novel. However, Coppola changed the setting from Africa to Vietnam among changes in the storyline...more
Naeem
In the Western Canon, the best book I have read on colonialism. Despite what Chinua Achebe says about its racism, this is a towering achievement -- perhaps the apex of the Western canon. (It is pretty much downhill from Conrad onwards, I would say. Although Orwell's Burmese Days gets there somewhat implicitly.) It shows that it is possible to be a Westerner and have a very deep and accurate understanding of colonialism. Conrad lays bare the barbarity of modernity, especially the necessary role...more
Shovelmonkey1
My god this book is a struggle - possibly harder to get through than the Congolese jungle itself. I know it's regarded as a "must read" classic but it should come with a free set of match sticks for propping your eyes open with. I read this while I was working on the Wyre Estuary pipe line and found it to be an amazing aid to midday snoozing. I'm interested in all things African, especially the colonial period but even this pushed my book endurance to its absolute limit. I handed this book on to...more
Les
Nov 07, 2012 Les rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone-It is a classic with wonderful prose.
I am happy to say that I have finally read this and that at least one gap in my wall of classics has been filled. Truthfully, I listened to it. It is probably the only reason I read it at this point and might be the only reason I initially enjoyed it so much.

I have seen the arguments about whether HoD is a deeply symbolic novel or a skewed autobiographical tale. I'm sure the truth is in the middle. It will take several rereads (or listens) to grasp much of the symbology. What blew me away was Co...more
Ginny
Capolavoro
Riprendendo in modo magistrale il motivo letterario del viaggio, Conrad si ricollega ai grandi modelli del passato e imprime al contempo una propria orma originale e indelebile in questa gloriosa tradizione.
Come in genere accade per i capolavori, anche “Cuore di tenebra” si presta a diverse chiavi di lettura e, a seconda della sensibilità e del vissuto, anche culturale, dei singoli lettori, può rievocare alla mente i più svariati paralleli e convogliare l’attenzione sui più differenti...more
Daniel
Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" was one of my favorite books when I was a teenager, and I'm happy to report that after another reading a couple decades later -- at least my third time through the book -- nothing has changed. In fact, as the years wear on, parts of it seem to gain new significance. One small example I feel I could reference on almost any given day, especially those days when I'm at work, though you'd have to have read the book to understand the context:
`Do you,' said I, looki
...more
Angela
Jan 08, 2008 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Angela by: it's in the canon
This book knocked me off my feet with its weird and evil feel. It is told in an observational style that is perfect. Prior to reading Heart of Darkness, I don't think I'd ever come to terms with the murky depths humanity can sink to. It's sort of about the way a situation can corrupt a person, or an entire group. And it's so true.
Jonathan
I have to again bring this down to a three star review on the basis of enjoyment. I cannot doubt that this is a book - a novella to be precise - worthy of literary acclaim. However the story personally lost me about halfway through and I found myself floundering through, trying to understand what had happened. It didn't help that Conrad included a highly symbolic piece of narrative right near the end.

This is the story of Marlow, a man who sets off to find the man known as Kurtz. As such he ventu...more
Ginny
Capolavoro
Riprendendo in modo magistrale il motivo letterario del viaggio, Conrad si ricollega ai grandi modelli del passato e imprime al contempo una propria orma originale e indelebile in questa gloriosa tradizione.
Come in genere accade per i capolavori, anche “Cuore di tenebra” si presta a diverse chiavi di lettura e, a seconda della sensibilità e del vissuto, anche culturale, dei singoli lettori, può rievocare alla mente i più svariati paralleli e convogliare l’attenzione sui più differenti...more
Jeremy
'I did not betray Mr Kurtz - it was ordered I should not betray him - it was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.'

This book is literature: words made into art. If you enjoy sociology and want to use it to consider and weigh up factors of social relativism with it, that's fine, but vaguely annoying in a similar way as seeing someone using a good reproduction of Caravaggio's 'David and Goliath' to wipe up dog puke.

Conrad charts an interesting space here between Realism and Mode...more
Chiara Pagliochini
Una sera, entrando con una candela, sussultai al sentirgli dire, con voce un po’ tremula: «Me ne sto sdraiato qui al buio ad aspettare la morte.» La luce era a meno di trenta centimetri dai suoi occhi.

Lessi per la prima volta questo libro in quarto superiore. Non sono fiera di ammettere che probabilmente non ne capii nulla. Ma ricordo la sensazione, una sensazione di stupore attonito, di sospensione, di rifiuto sdegnoso dell’incomprensione. Interrogavo le pagine cercandoci dietro la coda di un...more
Svitlana
Nov 28, 2008 Svitlana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Svitlana by: Mr. Carson
Dear Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness in one of the most memorable novels. It never stops me from wondering whether the darkness can be created or destroyed. Marlow's determination was certain type of accomplishment, the one Kurtz found within himself during his last days. Kurtz described darkness as "The Horror!" Kurtz had his advantages and disadvantages, but his phenomenal mind inspired Marlow to progress forward. Marlow showed a lot of strength and courage once he told Kurtz’s fiancé that h...more
Briynne
I listened to this book in my car during my daily commute to balance out the fact that I was reading "Outlander" at home. Just to keep my literary karma on an even keel and to prevent the inevitable cognitive dissonance which would occur if I was only reading romantic fluff.

I was surprised by how much I thought this book would be better if I had read it in print, considering that it is meant to be a story the main character is telling aloud to the other people with him. Maybe it was that the se...more
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Catching up on Cl...: Heart of Darkness: Discussion 21 50 Sep 30, 2011 02:21PM  
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Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski ) was a Polish-born English novelist who today is most famous for Heart of Darkness, his fictionalized account of Colonial Africa.

Conrad left his native Poland in his middle teens to avoid conscription into the Russian Army. He joined the French Merchant Marine and briefly employed himself as a wartime gunrunner. He then began to work aboard Bri...more
More about Joseph Conrad...
Heart of Darkness and the Congo Diary Lord Jim Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction Nostromo

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“Your strength is just an accident owed to the weakness of others.” 244 likes
“No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream--alone.” 223 likes
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