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Heart of Darkness
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Archive 2016 Group Reads > October 2016 → November 2016 - Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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message 1: by Lesle, Appalachain Bibliophile (new)

Lesle | 5408 comments Mod
Conrad's work is the idea that there is little difference between so-called civilised people and those described as savages; Heart of Darkness raises questions about imperialism and racism.

When Conrad began to write the novella, eight years after returning from Africa, he drew inspiration from his travel journals. He described Heart of Darkness as "a wild story of a journalist who becomes manager of a station in the (African) interior and makes himself worshipped by a tribe of savages.


message 2: by Janet (new)

Janet Milligan Another one that's on my to-read pile! I discovered Conrad this summer thanks to Le Monde's series of bilingual classic short stories. The Black Mate was excellent, so I decided to buy Heart of Darkness to complete my education


message 3: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine, to Polish parents, on December 3, 1857. His name was Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. He died in England and wrote his works in his English, which was not his first language. I would consider him an international writer, even though he wrote in English.


message 4: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
I will be reading this one as soon as my hold from the library arrives at my local branch. I have read one Conrad novel, Lord Jim, and it was also about a jungle, but not in Africa.


Brian Reynolds | 4371 comments A Conrad as the international book - I'll buy that. I've read nine of his books and find him both enthralling and tedious, often within the same novel. I do enjoy how he examines his characters' conflicts, both internal and societal.


message 6: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
I finally got my copy from the library so will be reading it soon.


message 7: by Janet (new)

Janet Milligan Thanks for the background to Conrad and his writing, Rosemarie. I feel at times that we can tell English isn't his first language, but in some ways this gives him a freedom in his use of the language and I think his style is unique. As I said elsewhere, I'm just getting into Heart of Darkness. It's a good portrait of the lifestyle of the European colonist in Africa.


message 8: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
I will be starting the novel soon, but right now I am reading Out of Africa by Karen Blixen. This book is set in in Kenya and tells of her life. It will be interesting to see how the books compare to each other.


Sarah (outtaty) | 2 comments I just got my copy from the library and hope to read it tomorrow.


Esther I have to read it for school, so I'll be joining in too!


message 11: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
I started reading the first few pages, where we meet the narrator Marlow, who is going to tell the story of his experiences on the great river in Africa.
I like the author's style of writing so far because it is very visual and I can picture the scene on the ship as they leave London.


message 12: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
As the ship sails along the coast of Africa, and after the conversation with the Swedish captain, Marlow gets warnings about what to expect.


message 13: by Elanna (last edited Oct 29, 2016 07:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elanna | 21 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I like the author's style of writing so far because it is very visual and I can picture the scene on the ship as they leave London."

So true. The first lines, painting the sunset on the Thames, with Marlowe depicted as something more of an oriental sage in meditation than of a westerner and mariner; the golden light on the river changing into smoky darkness towards the city of London. Everything is visual and, at the same time, symbolic of the overall themes of the novel, and the narration has yet to start!

Oh how much I love this novel. It has so many levels: Marlowe finds the horror behind Western civilisation and inside it; from a different perspective, Kurtz has found out that the civilisation of the conqueror IS savagery and horror, and at the same time has found the horror inside himself as it exists in every human being. He has embraced the horror, has become horror himself, and his story is the story of humanity. So, when you move the story in time (the Seventies), space (Vietnam) and imperialism (the American) the story remains valid. And you have Apocalypse Now. I think that this is one of the most universal stories ever told, and I will never come to understand why Chinua Abebe accuses Conrad of racism, of all the European writers at the turn of the XX Century.
My favourite novel, together with Ulysses, since the first time I read it, 22 years ago.


message 14: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
Here is a bit more about the author:

Conrad's parents died when he was a child, and he came under the protection of an uncle. In 1874, when he was 17, he went to sea on a French merchant ship in Marseilles. In 1878 he joined a British ship and became a British citizen in 1886.
Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing and eventually settled in Kent after his marriage to Jessie George.


message 15: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
I finished chapter 1. Marlow and the engineer are the only white characters at the station that seem to be honest.


message 16: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
I have finished the novel and am impressed by the writing in this intense novella. It really makes you ask who the real savages are-the native Africans or the white interlopers. I am glad that Marlowe did not succumb.


message 17: by Janet (new)

Janet Milligan I really got into this book yesterday and just couldn't put it down till I'd finished. My edition -Penguin classics- has a good article at the end about Conrad and the book. For example, comparing Marlowe's story with Conrad's own experiences. I appreciate the unique style of this writer and I'm inspired to read more of his work. Has anyone read other works?


message 18: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 8793 comments Mod
I read Lord Jim, which I also enjoyed. It is a longer book, set in another part of the world, but also has a river and a jungle.


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