Heart of Darkness
Books | Fiction / General
Heart of Darkness is a short novel by Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, written as a frame narrative, about Charles Marlow's life as an ivory transporter down the Congo River in Central Africa. The river is "a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land." In the course of his travel in central Africa, Marlow becomes obsessed with Mr. Kurtz. The story is a complex exploration of the attitudes people hold on what constitutes a barbarian versus a civilized society and the attitudes on colonialism and racism that were part and parcel of European imperialism. Originally published as a three-part serial story, in Blackwood's Magazine, the novella Heart of Darkness has been variously published and translated into many languages. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness one of the hundred best novels in English of the twentieth century.
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"Left me feeling very strange. Conrad’s vocabulary is large and his prose is at points incredibly impenetrable, so you have to be used to classics going in otherwise I’m not sure you could get anything out of this read. It is only 72 pages and took me almost 5 days to read. I didn’t feel like I understood the story until the last three pages. I’m not sure even now if I do, but I definitely felt something!"
"I wish there was an in between options for books because this one falls right in there for me. This was a tough read for me (was assigned by a professor). You can envision what’s going on but then again, you can easily get lost in what the book is about. I didn’t like it a lot and I didn’t dislike it—I’m just ‘eh’ about it. "
"The horror! The horror! Famed Shakespearean Kenneth Branagh's audiobook narration transports the listener to a hauntingly dark and surreal place. Quite first rate, that narration - this Branagh fellow will go far I do say. The Company has great hopes for him.<br/><br/>Though Conrad's novel is rather short, it left me feeling uneasy and mildly depressed. He does all manner of artsy literary stuff to draw parallels between the "civilized" and "savage" worlds - his view of the "civilized" Company men is none too favorable. And while Kurtz only very briefly appears in the novel, the image that Conrad paints of him still disturbs me.<br/><br/>Conrad's material and presentation are masterful, but it's really Branagh's interpretation that transforms the text into an eerie nightmare."
"Definitely an odd book but it’s a classic you just gotta read before you die. "