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Preview — Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
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Heart of Darkness
I recommend not to read this as a story, but as an essay. It might change how you understand it.(less)
It was like raking my fingernails across a chalkboard while breathing in a pail of flaming cat hai ...more
Having watched Apocalypse Now doesn’t count — if anything, it ups the ante, since that means you have to think about the similarities and differences (for example, contrast and compare the U.S. involvement in Vietnam with the Belgian rule over the Congo. Actually quite an intriguing and provocative question).
The prose can feel ...more
am i supposed to feel sorry for him? because i don't. i feel sorry for all of Africa getting invaded with dumbasses like this guy. oh and in case you didn't get it...the "heart of darkness" is like this super deep megametaphor of all metaphors. and in case it wasn't clear enough, conrad will spend many many useless words cle ...more
Well, that is a question, a question that is extremely difficult to answer. There are certainly racist aspects within Heart of Darkness. However, how far this is Conrad’s own personal opinion is near impossible to tell. Certainly, Marlowe, the protagonist and narrator, has some rather patronising notions as to how the Africans should be treated, and the image of the colonised is one of repression and servitude, but does this reflect Conrad’s own opinions? How far can ...more
Marlow is not just a narrator or an alter ego of Conrad, but a universal everyman, timeless. And that, to me, is the greatest appeal of this book, it is timeless.
“Like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds. We live in the flicker.”
The scene of Marlow sitting Buddha like as the Thames dreams into slow darkness and his voice takes on a disembodied, spiritua ...more
White Man named Michael Cera – represents Imperialism
Sunset – shows the impending darkness that is latently inside man
Sea – represents the Congo River
Moustache – represents author Joseph Conrad who also has his own impressive facial hair
Red Bonnet – is a horrible choice of headwear thus might prompt one to remark "the horror! the horror!" which is also Kurtz' last words
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
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 arrayed,
Has never previously been crossed,
By mortal men ...more
I finished this book with one sort-of word spinning around in my head... "eh?"
I read the whole book. Every page, every sentence, every word. And I couldn't tell you what it was about. I think I must have read more challenging books than this - Ulysses, Swann's Way, etc. - but none has left me so thoroughly clueless.
-T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men
He came, he saw, he conquered – and then he succumbed and died. Mistah Kurtz. An enigma, who ultimately came to signify the gloomy reality of sin, which closely lurks in the minds of mortal beings and keeps ready to pounce upon the heart and to sink it into darkness at the mere hint of viciousness. Which impatiently awaits the weak moments of vanity, false notions and fickleness to take over control and let humanity die a grief death of hopeles ...more
Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novella by Polish-English novelist Joseph Conrad, about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story's narrator Charles Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames. This setting provides the frame for Marlow's story of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz, which enables Conrad to create a parallel between "the greatest town on earth" and ...more
"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
“‘The honey! The honey!’
“I blew the candle out and left the cabin. Tigger and Eeyore were dining in the ...more
In the late 1800s, Charles Marlow is appointed as a captain of a river steamboat for an ivory trading company in Africa. He travels up the Congo river toward his appointment with the steamboat and with fate, in the form of Kurtz, the megalomaniac manager of an ivory trading station two hundred miles up the river.
But the wilderness had found him out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him t...more
That said, I do ...more
I had thought this was a re-read but, about halfway through, it all started seeming new to me, so perhaps I never finished it the first time round. It wouldn't surprise me – although the book is short, and its plot slight, it somehow contrives to feel extremely dense. Like a pocket Moby-Dick, it begins with a atmospheric Gothic opening and then sort of coagulates into a treacly mass of archaism, narrative grandstanding and morbid watery ruminations.
Conrad is strangely coy about identifying the C ...more
The narrator of the framing story tells us early on who is present on board a yacht sitting immobile in the Thames (a river of commerce and pleasure!): the Company Director, the Lawyer, the Accountant, Charlie Marlow, and the unnamed narrator himself.
The narrator seems to represent us, the audience. Marlow does the talking. The group could almost be the executive that runs a trading company, although what unites them is the bond of the sea:
"Besides holding our hearts together throug ...more
The dark masses had begun to congregate. Branches thumping against the glass and iron bars, in rhythm to some obscure, some lost song of the wild. The tendrils of darkness that took birth in the vacuums that the sun's warmth had just forsaken, had started their ascent :first shy, then bold, then complete. And when their majesty was absolute; pieces of the night sky, shining almost silver in the blackness met the pools of shades offered by the oozing earth with a coy surrender.
I opened a window....more
However, the inner message of th ...more
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 ...more
“I think [the wilderness] had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know, things of which he had no conception till he took counsel with this great solitude - and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core.”
Heart of Darkness is as easy to read as it is easy for me to rate it. (That is, not easy at all.) It is the classic example of a work that makes me ask myself what it is I'm rating when I rate my books: si ...more
Introduction to 'Heart of Darkness'
Introduction to 'The Congo Diary'
A Note on the Texts
Map of the River Congo
--Heart of Darkness
--The Congo Diary
Appendix: Author's Note (1917)
Glossary of Nautical Terms
Do not be fooled by the fact this book is short. It is actually very dense, hard to read, with long paragraphs and endless metaphors. Even the rare dialog was inserted in a big, bulky paragraph.
I found it strenuous to follow the line of the story. The author was jumping from one idea to the next in the blink of an eye and the prose was so full of pompous words that I was lost among them like in the darkness of the deep, unreal jungle he was describing.
Here's a ...more
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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