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Heart of Darkness (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) [Paperback]

by Joseph Conrad
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (681 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 1, 1999 0140281630 978-0140281637 Great Books
A masterpiece of twentieth-century writing, Heart of Darkness exposes the tenuous fabric that holds "civilization" together and the brutal horror at the center of European colonialism. Conrad's crowning achievement recounts Marlow's physical and psychological journey deep into the heart of the Belgian Congo in search of the mysterious trader Kurtz.


@JungleFever Heading down to Africa on a boat. Too hot! I get the creeping sense this job isn’t going to be as cushy as they made it sound.

The natives seem unhappy. Some are even violent! Why don’t they appreciate how much we’ve done for them? Ungrateful welfare leeches, I say!

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less


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Editorial Reviews

Review

As powerful a condemnation of imperialism as has ever been written Observer Once experienced, it is hard to let Heart of Darkness go. A masterpiece of surprise, of expression and psychological nuance, of fury at colonial expansion and of how men make the least of life ... endlessly readable and worthy of rereading Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Hesperus Press, as suggested by their Latin motto, Et remotissima prope, is dedicated to bringing near what is far—far both in space and time. Works by illustrious authors, often unjustly neglected or simply little known in the English–speaking world, are made accessible through a completely fresh editorial approach or new translations. Through these short classic works, which feature forewords by leading contemporary authors, the modern reader will be introduced to the greatest writers of Europe and America. An elegantly designed series of exceptional books. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.; Great Books edition (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140281630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140281637
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (681 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who knows our own Hearts of Darkness? April 12, 2003
By Kali
Format:Paperback
I was once one of those students forced to read this book at school. I was dragged kicking and screaming to its pages and read it only because I did not want to flunk my English Literature class. I was riveted from the first page, right up to the last paragraph. It is quite simply Conrad's finest book, (yes, I read his other books after this one.) However be aware, this is not everyone's cup of tea. There will be some people who will read this book and think, "Oh God, you have to be kidding!" However if you can get passed this mentality then you are in for a real literary treat.
The story is simple enough, a young Englishman; Marlow (this character appears in Conrad's story "Youth") goes out to Africa to seek his fortune. He is at first idealistic, and full of himself. However he quickly realises that Africa is full of petty bureaucrats who have no idea how to make use of this dark jewel they have acquired. Like Colonists before them, they proceed to ravage and plunder the land of its natural resources. Enter Kurtz, an Ivory Trader who has gone Native. He has become a Renegade, living with his Black mistress in the heart of Africa's interior; systematically turning his back on his supposed civilised self.
Marlow meets Kurtz after an eventful trip up the Congo and finds himself curiously attracted to this strange man who is [very ill], and obviously going insane. Kurtz in turn is an embarrassment to his employers who would rather see him dead than returned to "civilization." Of course this is unspoken, and the hypocrisy of human natures sticks out like a sore thumb in this novel, especially as Kurtz is one of the best Ivory Traders on the Congo route.
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331 of 369 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Make a 75 Page Story Into a 400 Page Book December 7, 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would like to address myself specifically to the Norton Critical Edition of this book. The difficulty that many readers face when they pick up a classic, pre-twentieth century novel is that they are not conversant with the history of the times in which it was written. Heart of Darkness can be enjoyed purely as a well written novella, but then you miss so much of what Conrad is trying to say not only regarding the thin veneer of man's social persona (ala Lord of the Flies) but about the evils of 19th century imperialism. What is the story of Colonialism? Do Conrad's derogatory remarks about Blacks make him a bigot? What were Conrad's overall views on life? What were Conrad's personal experiences in the Congo? What did readers think of Heart of Darkness when it was written, and what do the critics think of it today?
The Norton Critical Edition gives you 325 extra pages of material written by Conrad and others that provide answers to the above questions. You don't have to read all of these many articles, of course, but a good sampling of them will make your immersion in this famous story all the more enjoyable and meaningful.
This is a story that everyone should read, and the Norton Critical Edition provides the best format for the reading experience.
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123 of 137 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
No-one seriously interested in English literature can afford not to read this book. As a central device, the parallel journey into the heart of Africa and the dark centre of the human experience, remains as powerful as ever. The writing in the opening pages, depicting the men and the Thames and the wide possibilities that rise with every outgoing tide, remain as evocative as anything in English. Conrad's subject is barbarity, a theme as relevant now as then. His dark view of the colonial instinct also stands as a warning at this very hour. With "Lord Jim" a thicker, but in many ways easier book to read, Conrad poses the great existential question that was to dominate personal politics throughout the 20th Century, the taking of personal responsibility, the search for personal redemption - as one character puts it: "How to be - Ach! How to be?" With "Heart of Darkness" he articulates what Michael Ignatieff has described as "the seductiveness of moral disgust." Faced with the darkness around him, the character Kurtz advises "exterminate the brutes." His final, dread epiphany, his message from the heart of his own darkness "The Horror! The Horror!" is as chilling now as it was a century ago - a century that has seen more horror than even Conrad could have imagined.
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168 of 190 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the dark June 19, 2001
By sid1gen
Format:Paperback
Several people I am acquainted with have questioned my reading of "Heart of Darkness," using as argument the fact that they read it "in high school." Apparently, for these very well-read souls, if the book was in their high school reading list, then it should never be approached again. Well, both the poem of "El Cid" and the novel "Don Quijote" first revealed their wonders to me when I was in high school, and now that I have read them again (and "Don Quijote" complete this time), they have just proved to be timeless classics with something to tell a person of any age. "Heart of Darkness," by Joseph Conrad, is a classic that, given its length, invites several readings, particularly if one goes beyond the "high school-depth" sadly evident in those acquaintances of mine. The different, dark, alien world of the Congo as barely seen through Marlow's eyes, juxtaposed with the author's subtle-but-powerful condemnation of a system that promotes exploitation of those seen as "inferior," is one of this novella's most important, and often missed, commentaries. Marlow is the English sailor who does not, and cannot, understand anything that is not English, from the nameless city across the Channel (Brussels, most probably), to the ghost-like figures that people his employer's offices, to the multi-coloured map that shows how Africa has been carved, to the multi-coloured Russian whose language Marlowe cannot recognize and believes is cypher, to the river itself, to the native inhabitants of the land he is invading. This trip up the Congo river that Marlow tells his shipmates about while on the Thames is a journey after a man's voice, his treasure of ivory, and his report on the natives. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Classic
Tragic and haunting...really sets the mood of the true darkness.The writing is what makes the book, in my opinion. It is sure to disturb even a seasoned reader. Read more
Published 2 days ago by stefani
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Live Up
This book is known for being an epic portrayal of the evils of colonialism and imperialism, and for being a commentary on European attitudes towards the rest of the world that cuts... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Evan
1.0 out of 5 stars Matt Kish's book not reviewed here
1 star for the reviews being here and not where they belong; More stars if the reviews had been attached to the edition they were reviewing; 5 stars for the book; 5 stars for Matt... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Thomas J Marcacci
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated in some aspects but a lot of the themes are still relevant
I had seen this title and Conrad's name coined constantly through other mediums before I actually decided to read this. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Decker
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the Line
This edition is "top of the line" in every way. The introduction and background reading are models of clarity and intelligent commentary. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Johnny Avalon
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart of Darkness
Good novel. Its prose is so nice. "In a few days the Eldorado expedition went into the patient wilderness, that closed upon it, as the sea closes over a diver" and... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Zelalem Dawit
4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
I actually enjoyed this story quite a bit. I was expecting, after all I had heard, that it was going to be a hard story to get through, but in all actuality it kind of sucked me in... Read more
Published 26 days ago by A. Meyer
2.0 out of 5 stars Very boring
I had to read this for English class. Found it very boring to read. I found myself going to sparknotes after reading each chapter to make sure I didn't misread anything. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Cantu
5.0 out of 5 stars Clean appealing art..
This book is a masterpiece (Joseph Conrad's), and is something I will return to again repeatedly. This version is going to add a deeper terror to some sections and just give it... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joel A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Kish Work wonderfully different than his Moby Dick Book
This is an art book -- we all have the Conrad book already on our shelves, so the reason to buy this one is for the illustrations. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Scott A. Jones
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Amazon's lousy list of Kindle books
What more do you want? There are many classics offered for free, and almost all of the ebooks are cheaper than their hard copy counterparts. I, for one, have spent hundreds of dollars over the years on the same classics that I've downloaded to my Kindle for free.
Aug 19, 2011 by F. Roser |  See all 2 posts
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