Douglas Hackney's Reviews > Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
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's review
Apr 15, 2012

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Read in April, 2012

Still a good read on its own, but should really be paired with "King Leopold's Ghost." Reading KLG first will provide essential and very valuable context for "Heart of Darkness."

If read in this sequence, "Heart of Darkness" will be much more understandable as an autobiographical novella of the author's real-life experiences in the Belgian Congo during his short stint there as a river boat captain and much less a proxy or parable of modern man's journey through whatever your English Lit teacher thought it was.

"Heart of Darkness" remains a good, short, quick read. It teases with the tantalizing question of, "What would this have been as a full-length novel?" There are many characters who could have been more fully developed, many sub-plots that could have been entertainingly expanded.

But, even as it is, a direct and to-the-point semi-fictionalization of his experiences and conflation of several real-life personalities, it's an excellent peek into the heart of Africa not long after it was still "Tera Incognita" on every European map.

Read alone, it's a great yarn.

Read subsequent to KLG, it is much more meaningful.

And a lot less scary.


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