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Heart of Darkness

by Joseph Conrad

Modern and Contemporary Fiction

LoveReading View on Heart of Darkness

Written more than a century ago, this absolutely timeless book and its underlying themes hold just as much significance today. Intense and compelling, Heart of Darkness looks into the darkest recesses of human nature and Conrad takes the reader through a horrific tale in a very gripping voice.

Conrad’s novella is about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State, in the heart of Africa, by the story's narrator Charles Marlow. Marlow tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames.

In little over 100 pages, Conrad explores the darkness in men's hearts as Marlow narrates his travels up the Congo toward his appointment with the steamboat and with fate, in the form of Kurtz, the megalomaniac manager of an ivory trading station. This story is incredibly clever, profound and full of layered descriptions, symbolism and double meanings. It’s a must-read and an absolute certainty for our top 50 classics.

Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.


Heart of Darkness Synopsis

A haunting Modernist masterpiece and the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola's Oscar-winning film Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness explores the limits of human experience and the nightmarish realities of imperialism.

Conrad's narrator Marlow, a seaman and wanderer, recounts his physical and psychological journey in search of the infamous ivory trader Kurtz: dying, insane, and guilty of unspeakable atrocities. Travelling upriver to the heart of the African continent, he gradually becomes obsessed by this enigmatic, wraith-like figure. Marlow's discovery of how Kurtz has gained his position of power over the local people involves him in a radical questioning, not only of his own nature and values, but also those of western civilisation.

Part of a major series of new editions of Conrad's most famous works in Penguin Classics, this volume contains Conrad's Congo Diary, a chronology, further reading, notes, a map of the Congo, a glossary and an introduction discussing the author's experiences in Africa, the narrative and symbolic complexities of Heart of Darkness and critical responses to the novel.

Edited with an introduction by Owen Knowles

Heart of Darkness Press Reviews

'Seems to reach into the heart of Conrad himself' Peter Ackroyd

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780141441672
Publication date: 02/08/2007
Publisher: Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780141441672
Publication date: 2nd August 2007
Author: Joseph Conrad
Publisher: Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 192 pages
Genres: Classics, Modern and Contemporary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. In 1874 Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice. In 1886 he obtained British nationality. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes. He continued to write until his death in 1924. J. ...

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