Heart of Darkness Book By Joseph Conrad (PDF - Summary - Review - Online Reading - Download)

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Heart of Darkness is a novel by Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad about a journey narrated by the Congo River to the Congo Free State in the heart of Africa. Charles Marlow, the narrator, tells his story to friends aboard a ship anchored in the River Thames. This configuration provides the framework for Marlow's story of his obsession with the successful ivory merchant Kurtz. Conrad offers parallels between London ("the largest city in the world") and Africa as places of darkness.

The central idea of ​​Conrad's work is that there is little difference between "civilized people" and those described as "wild." Heart of Darkness implicitly comments on imperialism and racism.

Originally published as a three-part serial story in Blackwood's Magazine to celebrate the thousandth edition of the magazine, Heart of Darkness has been widely reissued and translated into many languages. He provided the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film, Apocalypse Now. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Heart of Darkness in 67th place in its list of the 100 best English novels of the 20th century.

Author Joseph Conrad
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Novella
Published 1899 serial; 1902 book
Publisher Blackwood's Magazine

Book Summary
Heart of Darkness, a novel by Joseph Conrad, was originally a three-part series in Blackwood's Magazine in 1899. It is a story within a story, following a character named Charlie Marlow, who recounts his adventure to a group of men aboard a ship. anchored ship The story told is from his early life as a ferry captain. Although his job was to transport ivory downstream, Charlie develops an interest in investing an ivory acquisition agent, Kurtz, who is a government employee. Preceded by his reputation as a brilliant emissary of progress, Kurtz has now established himself as a god among the natives in "one of the darkest places on earth." Marlow suspects something else about Kurtz: he has gone mad.

A reflection on corrupt European colonialism and a trip to the nightmare psyche of one of the corrupt, Heart of Darkness, is considered one of the most influential works ever written.

Book Club Questions

Book Review
In 1890, Joseph Conrad, an officer aboard the Roi des Belges, sailed along the Congo River into the Free State of the Congo, in effect the private fief of King Leopold of Belgium. Eight years later, just when the details of the genocidal Leopold regime began to be made public, Conrad's experiences there inspired him to write Heart of Darkness, as a powerful condemnation of imperialism as written, and it remains a deeply disturbing read more of a century later.

The novel focuses on the efforts of Marlow, Conrad's alter ego, to travel an unnamed African river on behalf of his employer to bring back a dishonest ivory merchant, Mr. Kurtz. Kurtz's reputation precedes it: "It's a prodigy ... an emissary of piety, science, and progress." However, as Marlow approaches Kurtz, there is a growing suggestion that he has somehow corrupted and fallen into savagery.

As Marlow moves upriver, the feeling of imminent danger is more intense, with cryptic warnings and a bloody ambush that increases the tension. When Marlow finally arrives at Kurtz's camp, he discovers an unimaginable scene of depravity. The dying Kurtz is taken aboard the ship (along with a prodigious amount of ivory), but the journey back downstream does not survive. With Marlow present, her last chilling words are "The horror! The horror!"

It is tempting to see Heart of Darkness as a masterfully constructed parable about human nature (witness of Apocalypse Now, the film adaptation of Francis Ford Coppola, in which the action was transposed to Southeast Asia) but as historian Adam Hochschild has pointed out in the Book of King Leopold. Ghost, about the violation of the Congolese king, Conrad himself was quite clear that it was based on specific events he had witnessed, saying that it was "experience ... pushed a little (and very little) beyond the actual events of the case". Despite his protests, this is undoubtedly an invaluable historical document that offers insight into the terrible human consequences of the struggle of the imperial powers for Africa, as well as a compelling story.

About The Author
Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski ) was a Polish-born English novelist who today is most famous for Heart of Darkness, his fictionalized account of Colonial Africa.

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 British ships, learning English from his shipmates. He was made a Master Mariner and served more than sixteen years before an event inspired him to try his hand at writing.

He was hired to take a steamship into Africa, and according to Conrad, the experience of seeing firsthand the horrors of colonial rule left him a changed man.

Joseph Conrad settled in England in 1894, the year before he published his first novel. He was deeply interested in a small number of writers both in French and English whose work he studied carefully. This was useful when, because of a need to come to terms with his experience, lead him to write Heart of Darkness, in 1899, which was followed by other fictionalized explorations of his life.

He has been lauded as one of the most powerful, insightful, and disturbing novelists in the English canon despite coming to English later in life, which allowed him to combine it with the sensibilities of French, Russian, and Polish literature.

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