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Heart of Darkness and the Congo Diary Paperback – Sep 25 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (Sept. 25 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141441674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141441672
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #152,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'‘One of the most compelling and influential works of English literature in the last century.’'  —Independent

"Conrad's narrative arsenal is awesome . . . Conrad deals in profundities if he deals in anything, but it is just his ability to clip his own wings in midflight, to puncture his ponderously magnificent dirigibles, that make him such an impressive literary performer."  —Sunday Times

"Demands to be read."  —Guardian

"Conrad broadened the descriptive range of the English language (his glowing and luxuriant delight in words, the haunting decor of the tropics, all that maritime terminology) more than any of his contemporaries."  —Independent
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
The Nellie,1 a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Erico on Nov. 19 2006
Format: Paperback
Set in the Belgian Congo during the 19th century Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, is a journey to the darkest corners of the wilderness and the human heart. The story is told by Marlow, a sailor, who journeys to the Congo to captain a river steamer and ends up on a expedition to save an extrodinary ivory trader by the name of Mr. Kurtz.

Throughout this journey he encounters the raw brutality of colonialism in all its horror and greed. Conrad brings the reader to the frontier where men do savage things all for the spoils of conquest. This is in sharp contrast with other African adventure classics, such as King Solomon's Mines, which take a much more amiable view of the conquest of Africa.

Conrad shows all this barbarism with vivid imagery. His description of the Congo wilderness brings it life with all the mystery and majesty it is due. Conrad's prose is magnificent; you feel like you are at Marlow's side throughout the whole story. However anyone thinking this is a fast paced thriller is mistaken. It plot moves at a leisurely pace and isn't as rushed as novels today.

Another one of the beauties of this book is its re-readability. I first read it through without reading the introduction and I am glad I did. It let me interperet the meaning of the book without anyone else's influences and when I read the introduction at the end I found that there was a myraid of other themes that could be drawn from the story that I had not thought of. I am now reading it a second time in a new light. I suggest anyone reading it the first time to skip the intro and the footnotes until you've read it once. It will definetly make it a more enjoyable read.

Not that it is not already an excellent book. Heart of Darkness is a literature masterpiece that shows the raw repungent character of colonialism and human nature with haunting power.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on Feb. 18 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book in my advanced English class my senior year and at first I was a bit unethusiastic. The introduction is a bit tedious and long describing in detail how Marlow decides to travel to Africa and how he gets there through his aunt's help. But by the second chapter I was intrigued and by the end of the novel it became my favourite book.
Joseph Conrad is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest writer of the English language and the funny thing is it is his third language (behind Polish and French). He decided to write "Heart of Darkness" in English because according to him English has words no other language has that he wanted to put in this novel.
The book starts out on a steamboat on the Thames River where the narrarator is talking with a number of other folks on board. Marlow sits (like Buddha) nearby and just starts talking. He then becomes the central speaker and through the narrarator, Marlow's story is told. As a young lad he saw the Congo River and he became transfixed with it and decided one day he would go to Africa. When he becomes an adult his aunt gets him a job in Africa at a Central Station where the head manager manages the smaller stations that are bringing in ivory. Here is where the story hooks the reader. Out in the middle of the jungle is a man by the name of Kurtz. This man is greatly admired and hated at the same time because he is bringing more ivory than all of the stations combined, yet he is the only one out there excluding the Africans he took with him. He sends back any man who has been an assistant to him and the only word out is that he was considering coming back but turned his steamboat around and stayed out in the jungle. Marlow's job is to find him.
The book is amazing and beautifully written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Costello on June 20 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a gripping tale about man's fear of the unknown, set in the Congo jungle in the 1800's. I was felt as if I was literally transported to another time and place; I could hear the crickets crick and feel the bugs and the heat and the terror. A must read. This is not merely a commentary on Western colonialism but a philosophical masterpiece. There is a heart of darkness in all of us and the character of Kurtz, to me, is a representation of man's awe of the unknown, the unattainable, reveared, unreachable beyond. Read this book immediately.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm really on the fence about this book. It is beautifully descriptive. However, it often times feels way more descriptive than it should be; which causes it to be a tedious read. I also find it suddenly jumps to the following scenario instead of having some kind of flow. I often found it difficult to follow and would have to back track to be able to properly follow the story. This is the first thing I've read from Conrad and don't think I'll be reading another. I didn't really care for his writing style. I find that it took quite a lot of pages to tell the story and not very much really went on. The last quarter of the book was really the only decent part. He could've made this story half the size and it would've been great. The number of events that took place would normally make up a short story, not a novella. This is a personal review and if you do plan to buy this, please don't hesitate to do so. For the price, you can't really go wrong. I would not read it again, but I'm glad I read it once.
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