Heart of Darkness

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Author: Joseph Conrad (Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski)
Published: 1899
Language: English
Wordcount: 38,206 / 110 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 70.7
LoC Category: PS
Audiobook: librivox.org
Downloads: 36,254
mnybks.net#: 1843
Origin: gutenberg.org

The story tells of Charles Marlow, an Englishman who took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Although Conrad does not give the name of the river, at the time, Congo Free State, the location of the large and important Congo River was a private colony of Belgium's King Leopold II. Marlow is employed to transport ivory downriver. However, his more pressing assignment is to return Kurtz, another ivory trader, to civilization, in a cover-up. Kurtz has a reputation throughout the region.This symbolic story is a story within a story or frame narrative. It follows Marlow as he recounts from dusk through to late night, to a group of men aboard a ship anchored in the Thames Estuary his Congolese adventure. The passage of time and the darkening sky during the fictitious narrative-within-the-narrative parallel the atmosphere of the story. Wikipedia

Show Excerpt

pree on shore suffices to unfold for him the secret of a whole continent, and generally he finds the secret not worth knowing. The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.

His remark did not seem at all surprising. It was just like Marlow. It was accepted in silence. No one took the trouble to grunt even; and presently he said, very slow--

"I was thinking of very old times, when the Romans first came here, nineteen hundred years ago--the other day. . . . Light came out of this river since--you say Knights? Yes; but it is like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clou

Reviews

Average Rating of 4.7 from 6 reviews: *****
2014.04.21
George
*****

Pound for pound, the greatest novel ever written in the English language.

Conrad got to see King Leopold's Africa and brilliantly portrays it in this classic frame tale. Journey with Marlowe up the mighty mysterious Congo River and discover the brutality that all humans are capable of.

The ending? It punches a hole straight through my heart, every time.

2012.01.09
Philipp
***..

Heart of Darkness is certenly one of these books where you don't get the story fully until you sleep one night over it. But what is it about?

It's the 19th century and imperialism cut Africa into pieces where a slaves live counts nothing because white men think they are far surpirior then these savage people.
And in this mess stumbles a young Adventurer not knowing that the wildernes will soon change him.

That's the summary of Heart of Darkness and I realy like the setting, but the story is written so confuse, jumps from here to there and leaves some gaps, so that it is realy difficult to understand what's going on.

Do I recoment it? Yes, it's only 100 pages.
Is it great? No.


Heart of Darkness though claimed as the racist novel, It is deeply religious one. Conrad is not making a jock by presenting the Light of the Asia: Lord Buddha in three diffient places clearly though Bruce Johnson in his "Heart of Darkness" and the problem of Emptiness" refers the presence of the Buddha in "four crucial occasions" connects the story to the religion clearly. Like Sanjaya in the Mahabharata who tells the War to the blind King Dhritarashtra Marlow supported by the Omniscient and omnipresent narrator delivers the story/experiences/comments to us weaving the every word to the plot of the novel loaded with the philosophical meaning for us. It is a China Box for us to see and ponder how many boxes of meanings are there in a single text. The Epitome of the meaning is the Religion subltly hidden into the passages of the Novel.

2009.03.19
adriana
*****

this is a good book a little hard to understand but its good. a little deppresing and horifing but its good

2008.03.28
Carl Heerwagen
*****

Very depressing. Not as racist as some people believe. Interesting adventure. Shows the attitudes at the time. Lots of symbolism. Very Good.

2005.05.27
John Upchurch
*****

Depressing, horrifying, and excellent. This was used as the basis of the movie "Apocalypse Now".


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