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Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer (Bantam Classics) Paperback – May 1, 1982


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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Classics
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (May 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553212141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553212143
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #679,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Heart Of Darkness. The story of the civilized, enlightened Mr. Kurtz who embarks on a harrowing "night journey" into the savage heart of Africa, only to find his dark and evil soul. The Secret Sharer. The saga of a young, inexperienced skipper forced to decide the fate of a fugitive sailor who killed a man in self-defense. As he faces his first moral test the skipper discovers a terrifying truth -- and comes face to face with the secret itself. Heart Of Darkness and The Secret Sharer draw on actual events and people that Conrad met or heard about during his many far-flung travels. In portraying men whose incredible journeys on land and at sea are also symbolic voyages into their own mysterious depths, these two masterful works give credence to Conrad's acclaim as a major psychological writer.

From the Inside Flap

Heart Of Darkness. The story of the civilized, enlightened Mr. Kurtz who embarks on a harrowing "night journey" into the savage heart of Africa, only to find his dark and evil soul. The Secret Sharer. The saga of a young, inexperienced skipper forced to decide the fate of a fugitive sailor who killed a man in self-defense. As he faces his first moral test the skipper discovers a terrifying truth -- and comes face to face with the secret itself. Heart Of Darkness and The Secret Sharer draw on actual events and people that Conrad met or heard about during his many far-flung travels. In portraying men whose incredible journeys on land and at sea are also symbolic voyages into their own mysterious depths, these two masterful works give credence to Conrad's acclaim as a major psychological writer.

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Customer Reviews

The story ending does not really end the story.
heather blake
The first time you read "Heart of Darkness" you worry for Marlow traveling in the company of a group of man-eating grass beaters.
Slokes
Like the Heart of Darkness, the Secret Sharer is an ambiguous tale open to myriad interpretations.
presypclhs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Big Cadillac on August 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
It should be noted immediately that "Heart of Darkness" is not an action packed morality tale like its cinematic cousin "Apocalypse Now", but an excursion into literary techniques such as symbolism and metaphor. As a result, many high school students and English under-grads are put to task to decode Conrad's frequently splendid, but occasionally arcane, use of English. Even if you are like me, (i.e. not a big fan of heavy symbolism, who prefers more literal writing) you will still enjoy this book with a little work.

Heart of Darkness takes place sometime around the turn of the 19th Century. The story is narrated by a worldly and morally ambiguous seafarer named Marlow. Marlow tells us, in great detail, about a voyage he took up the Congo River and his observations and tribulations thereof.

*Some Spoilers Follow*

A main theme to think about is Conrad's repeated thrashing of 19th Century Imperial Colonialism. There are numerous references throughout the book, including the title, of the moral ambiguity, discovery, and tension between "civilized" nations and "primitive" ones and, more importantly, applying this idea allegorically to an individual's internal struggle with his/her own individuality and moral compass.

On the negative side, this book is often over-analyzed to incomprehensibility as eager students and teachers find dubious meanings in admittedly confusing areas. I tend to chalk this up to unfortunate paragraph structure and disappointing anticlimaxes such as Marlow's visits with Kurtz.

Regardless, Conrad wrote a fine tale with historical relevance and personal insight. The trip up the river is especially brilliant. However, do not expect an action packed tale of heroes and villains, but rather think about what the "Heart of Darkness" means.

4/5
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By presypclhs on February 15, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a classic of British literature. Although Conrad was born in Russia-controlled Poland and did not become fluent in English until he was 21 years old, he demonstrates a tremendous mastery of the English language. Like many of his stories, Heart of Darkness is based on one of Conrad's own adventures (when he captained a steamboat down the Congo River).

Heart of Darkness chronicles the adventures of Charlie Marlow, a sailor and wanderer whose adventures lead him into the Congo Free State (under the control of Belgium) during the height of African Imperialism. As Marlow progressed further and further into the Congo, he confronts the growing darkness of mankind. The novel is often mistakenly taught in schools as a great anti-Imperialism novel, but this is not quite accurate. Almost every aspect of Heart of Darkness is ambiguous. Although Conrad clearly criticizes the false claims of humanitarian motives in imperialism, he does not condemn the act of imperialism. It is not even clear whether Conrad considers the Africans to be human.

Despite all its ambiguities, the Heart of Darkness is an important novel. At the very least, it paints a stunning and painful portrait of the cruelty and inhumanity of imperialist activities. If Conrad is not condemning imperialism, which is likely the case, then the novel ably portrays the underlying racism (and sexism, incidentally) in European thought during the time period.

The Secret Sharer is a short-story included with some copies of Heart of Darkness. The story follows a ship captain who rescues someone from the waters and allows him to stay on his ship, hidden from the ships' crew. The man turns out to have been a sailor on another ship who killed a crew-member during a storm.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Concerned Teacher on December 23, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
In my estimation, Heart of Darkness is one of the greatest novels written in English. Conrad's language is what sells it for me. I ordered the Enriched Classics version of the novel for my class next term, and as I was reviewing the text, I came across a startling textual inaccuracy.

One of the crucial moments of the text is when Marlow discusses Kurtz's last words. He calls Kurtz's final gasp "an affirmation, a moral victory paid for by innumerable defeats, by abominable terrors, by abominable satisfactions." However, on page 173 of the Enriched edition of the novel, Marlow says that the words are "an affirmation, a moral victory paid for by innumerable satisfactions." I have checked the text of an old Signet Classics edition and a Norton Critical edition. They both contain the full line. Such a mistake makes me doubt the accuracy of the Enriched version of the text.

I hope I don't sound as though I'm nitpicking. The particular line that I have cited is one of the most important (and one of the most famous) of the novel, and I think its inaccuracy drastically changes the tone and meaning of the scene in which it appears.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scott Eckert on June 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Heart of Darkness" is arguably my favorite novel of all time (tied with Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"). Thrilling in every way, this is the only book that seeped into me. Never before has an author created a mood so perfectly that you actually FEEL the darkness. Written masterfully as a person retelling a story someone else was telling, the book has a reality on both levels that in unbelievable. You NEED to read this book! It's short and gripping so it shouldn't take too long. You might not be a changed person when you're through, but you will be awed by Conrad's brilliance. (Even if you hate the book, it's undeniable.)
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