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Heart Of Darkness And Selections From The Congo Diary

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  757 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
'Heart of Darkness,' which appeared at the very beginning of our century, 'was a Cassandra cry announcing the end of Victorian Europe, on the verge of transforming itself into the Europe of violence,' wrote the critic Czeslaw Milosz.
Originally published in 1902, Heart of Darkness remains one of this century's most enduring--and harrowing--works of fiction. Written
Published 2000 by McGraw Hill (first published 1899)
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Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"L’Horreur” by Anthony Petrie, based on 'Heart Of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad

The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.

Ain't that the truth, and sadly. the history of much of mankind...the haves become the have-nots, and we chalk it up to progress.

I hesitated to give five stars, as I did not love this book. It was as sad and depressing a
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z-2012
"The horror! The horror!"
Marius Hohlbrugger
Joseph Conrad, Jonas Lie and the blank spaces on the map of Africa: A speculation.

I dont know how familiar readers (other than Norwegians) are with Jonas Lie and his most famous novel Familien på Gilje, first published in the Norwegian language in 1883. Jonas Lies stated aim with the novel was to portrait a Norwegian officers family in the 1840s and as such it is a work of literary realism, or more precisely, naturalism. The text has no relation to the Victorian imperial romance, fictional colon
Agata Vehi
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una gran obra, muy dura e impactante. Inolvidable. Conrad era, sin duda, un maestro en el noble arte de narrar.
In a world overshadowed with madness and hypocrisy, Conrad draws a disintegrated picture of a world divided into two separate spheres. A world where dark figures lurk and have no speech, another that gives the reader an illusion of an enlightening darkness. According to Achebe, Heart of Darkness is an “offensive and deplorable book”. However, I think that he did not get Conrad's message perfectly. Western Civilization has constructed the lowest form of humanity and tried demolishing the whole au ...more
Joseph F.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A feast of words will spellbound you into following closely Marlowe's journey deep into the steaming primordial jungle. What does he expect to find? What became of the mysterious Kurtz and why has he halted trading the much coveted ivory?
You will have to find out if you dare!
This short novel is going to go down as one of my favs. This particular edition has some interesting essays by other writers as well.
Sep 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, the-congo
I read this book as a result of having read King Leopold's Ghost, so my interest was not so much literary as historical. Because of that, I read things out of order - skipped all the commentary at the beginning, went straight to the story, then read excerpts from Conrad's diary, and then returned to the start of the text and read what critics had to say.

I found the story plodding, to be honest - the style of a long and rambling narration by one character just didn't hook me, and I frequently fou
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have been to the "heart of darkness" many times over the years with other authors - in critical texts, histories and New Yorker articles. I've been there so many times that going there started to feel trite. Yet Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" is anything but trite. It's serious, heart-wrenching and horrible. Still, reading it I found that I expected more. Probably too much, for a book of its time.

"Africa" appears early on to be a state of mind for Conrad's narrator. Marlow travels to the physic
Dillwynia Peter
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read most of Conrad's works now & have always been apprehensive over Heart of Darkness. Lauded by many, I didn't want my Conrad discovery to be over once this was read. However, I have matured to overcome my apprehension & in one way, I waited to the right time.

What an exciting time the end of the 19th century & the start of the 20th was in literature. The broad canvas Victorian novel was disappearing and the pared back experimental one was emerging. Heart of Darkness is so mu
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know this is the required reading book everyone hates, but I thought it was stunning, honestly due to the language for the most part. Everything was described so perfectly, so eloquently, and so beautifully. It was a simple story, and a very short one - a novella, really. A guy goes into the Congo, meets this crazy dude, and takes him back as he dies. That's it. But the way Conrad describes how Kurtz's heart has been infiltrated and darkened by the wilderness around him is just amazing, as is ...more
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-peace
The horror! The horror!
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This seems more like a book you read to analyze than a book you read to enjoy. It has important themes and messages, but for such a short book, it took me an inordinately long time to get through.
Andrew Forrester
Important, teaches well, and very much not my thing.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is a good read, but Conrad says 'heart of darkness' so often I started laughing every time I read it.
Heart of Darkness is a book that has really put me on the fence. I don't really know what to make of it. First, let me give you a small summary: The narrator is on a boat on the Thames listening to Marlow tell a story about his journey up the Congo River in search of an elusive ivory trader, Kurtz.

I'm going to be frank: Kurtz is the most interesting character that came out of this book. Marlow seems less of a character and more of a narrative frame. I never really felt that Marlow was a characte
Imagine then that you are standing at the edge of a fallow field, planning your route through it. You could walk across it and end up on the other side, safe and sound. But you’ve heard rumors of treasures buried underneath the dirt, so you decide to tunnel your way through.

You start shallow and begin to dig deeper and deeper, the soil around you growing denser and denser. Soon you are so deep that there’s nothing to light your way, and there’s great risk of becoming lost. Fortunately, you find
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001
Joseph Conrad begins his 1902 novella by having the sub-narrator, Charlie Marlow, talk about the Romans conquest of England centuries before. "And this also has been one of the dark places of the earth." I found this a bit odd. The only thing I could think Conrad (or Marlow) was doing, was to justify invading Africa, since this was not first instance of colonization. That goes along with a doctor telling Marlow he would love "to watch the mental changes, on the spot" of people who travel to Afri ...more
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My husband was appalled when I told him I’d never read this book, and frankly, after reading it, I’m a little ashamed of myself too.

Heart of Darkness is a study of man’s potential for greatness and for evil. Sometimes the two can’t be extricated from each other, and that is what the narrator, Marlowe, comes to acknowledge about himself. On the surface, it’s an indictment of colonialism and the idea that the white man had a duty and a charge to civilize the "savage peoples" of the earth. It was
Mike Jensen
There are two things dangerous for a literary person to admit. One is that they like Conrad, with the possible exception of HEART OF DARKNESS, and the other is that they recommend others avoid Conrad, with the possible exception of HEART OF DARKESS. This is my second sojourn into the heart of this book, and it is the second time I have regretted the time wasted.

It is hard to judge today just how much to blame Conrad for the contempt shown the African characters. From the frequent use of the N wo
Amy Layton
I reread this, as it was next on my bookshelf and it had been two years since I previously read it in highschool. I don't know why everyone was making a fuss about how awful the book was, because the novella is actually very well written, even if it isn't in the common language and slang we use now. Even if one does not like the book itself or how it was written, one can't deny the literary meaning and themes used by Conrad to further his novella.

Edit; Third time rereading: I recently reread thi
Auggie Heschmeyer
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interestingly, this book is at its most engaging before Marlowe comes across the infamous Kurtz. The monotony and crippling ennui of Marlowe's trip deep into the jungle is almost enough drive you insane. It's pretty easy to see where Francis Ford Coppola got the psychedelic nightmare tone for his adaptation in the form of Apocalypse Now. Once Marlowe finds Kurtz, however, it felt to me like Joseph Conrad felt he really needed to sell the cult of personality that surrounded Kurtz and he ends up d ...more
Ingeborg (Ivy)
Some parts were surprisingly good - I liked the writing on the whole; the sense of continuousness, of clearly being a story told to an audience rather than a written account. The imagery, and the flow of the language were over all not bad. That being said, I sometimes struggled to follow the story and find meaning, as well as keeping track of where he was moving in the tale, both geographically and in time (partly because I was tired). The constant onslaught of racial slurs was not exactly enjoy ...more
Aug 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, classic
This is definitely a book that a person should read. Its all about your own inferences as to what the main point of the book was. For me it was about how the wild can change a person. Its basically about a guy named Marlow and he tells the story of a guy named Kurtz. Kurtz is this “remarkable” person and everyone seems to know about him and what type of person he is. It amazes me how much people admired this guy.

I really enjoyed the way that the jungle was portrayed. It was like its own characte
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is the perfect example of enveloping imagery. Everything about its descriptions brings us back to its title: the impenetrable wall of black that is the jungle, the dark shapes of the natives strewn about, the somber depths of men's thoughts and souls.
There's something about writers for whom English is not a first language (like Nabokov) that makes them do incredible things with English words.
This edition includes some very interesting commentaries from such literary luminaries as Vi
Jun 08, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Over-rated work of literature.

Reading it felt too inward and individual. Conrad's journey never felt like it had any sense of place or purpose. I had very little understanding of the African continent or Congo. If there was anything about his own or society's nature and values in question, I must have missed it.

Heart of Darkness may be one of those novels more fit for a college classroom. I think some theoretical or pedagogical guidance would have helped make this a richer, more rewarding text.
Michele Crimson
Jul 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is listed as a classic. The only way I would apply that word to it is that it is a disaster of classic proportions. This book was a requirement for my British Lit class and I think my instructor must dislike teaching and students. Reading it felt like punishment; it was painful. All the reviews about the morality and symbolism of it make me wonder what they were reading. 46 uses of the word black in 113 pages, 46 uses of the word white in 113 pages. 25 uses of the word darkness, quotat ...more
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So rich and multi-layered that I had to read it twice back-to-back. Then watch videos and read analyses to take it apart even more.

While being a contentious novel due to its portrayal of Africans as being primitive in the late 1800s, there is no denying Conrad's vast knowledge of literature, his mastery of the English language, and his ability to weave a complex tale into a novel that spans only 124 pages. The novel depicts the worst of humanity through the eyes of Marlow, and explores countles
Jake Leech
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For starters, it's only 85 pages long. How 'bout that?

Like most assigned reading in high school and college, this was much better ten years later, knowing that I wasn't going to be quizzed on motifs or metaphors. The framing narrative works wonderfully, and for some reason I heard Marlow's voice as Jeremy Kemp's, old and gravelly. I usually read very quickly, but reading in Marlow's voice really slowed me down and let me really appreciate the language.

That said, this is one of those stories wher
Winter Branch
Jun 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: fiction
I don't know what it is, but there is something about this book that sucks me in every time. I have read Heart of Darkness countless times and my copy is filled with enumerable markings and underlines. The narrative within a narrative delivery, the quest up the Congo, the contrast between the industrialized/civilized world and the jungle, Conard's wonderful prose, and the torment of man. Great, great stuff.

The added Congo Diary from Conrad's own travels is a neat extra treat in this edition.

Mar 18, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"The horror! The horror!" sums up my reading experience of Heart of Darkness nicely. The origin of the exclamation and the addition of a few nautical terms to my vocabulary are really the only things I took away from the book. I didn't like the secondary narrator means of storytelling, and I occasionally found Marlow's communication of events difficult to follow and not always clear--which I am to understand was intentional for some points. It also never really felt as dramatic as the writing se ...more
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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 Br
More about Joseph Conrad...
“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 sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of an interminable waterway. In the offing the sea and the sky were welded together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished sprits. A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth.
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