Customer Reviews for

Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Average Rating 3.5
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(69)

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(21)

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(16)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

The Most Mind Expanding Book You Can Read

My English teacher told us near Halloween of 2008, that we had to read a book called Heart of Darkness. He said it would expand out mind and we would feel smarter after reading it. I didn¿t believe him and I didn¿t believe any book could make ME feel smarter. I had alre...
My English teacher told us near Halloween of 2008, that we had to read a book called Heart of Darkness. He said it would expand out mind and we would feel smarter after reading it. I didn¿t believe him and I didn¿t believe any book could make ME feel smarter. I had already heard from people in my grade that it was boring and hard, yet from my trusty English teacher, I heard it was very good. I started reading the book with a positive attitude and found it quite confusing after the first couple pages. Then, by the end of the first chapter I found myself wanting to read more. I found it to be intriguing how each sentence can be perceived in different ways. As I kept reading the book, I got more and more interested. Joseph Conrad had to be a brilliant man to write a book filled with such meaning and context to each sentence. The book had flashbacks which did confuse me at first but as soon as my wonderful English teacher explained it I understood. I compare Joseph Conrad to Shakespeare, because in Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad had an underlying meaning to his sentences, like Shakespeare did in Romeo and Juliet. This book wasn¿t exactly easy, but it was a challenge and it made me actually use my brain. It made me think about how Conrad wrote the book and how he was feeling while he wrote this. I asked myself all these questions and pondered on what I believe is the main message in this book is. I believe that the main message that he is trying to perceive is that man kind is scared of the unknown and no matter if we are ¿civilized¿ or not we are still animals. The Europeans thought that they needed to ¿civilize¿ the natives because they didn¿t understand technology or Christianity, but really the Europeans were the ones who needed to be civilized. The Europeans were taking land from the natives and taking their ivory at whatever cost. They would kill for money; I don¿t think that¿s very civilized or Christian. I really believe that the message that we are all animals was the main perceived message that Conrad tried to get to his audience.
I really did enjoy this book and I would recommend it to anybody who wants a challenge. Even if you aren¿t that good at reading I would subject that you read it and if you have any questions to go to a teacher (if you¿re in school) or get Spark Notes, to help you understand some of the difficult parts in the book. It¿s very rewarding and if you are looking for a wonderful intriguing, mind expanding book, then I definitely recommend Heart of Darkness.

posted by Sprenkle on January 17, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Very Dense

I greatly enjoy classic literature, but this book was too dense to stimulate me.
Although the plot/storyline could be excellent, the author writes this book with too much description about extremely minor details that make it difficult to get through. He takes 2+ pages...
I greatly enjoy classic literature, but this book was too dense to stimulate me.
Although the plot/storyline could be excellent, the author writes this book with too much description about extremely minor details that make it difficult to get through. He takes 2+ pages just describing two women knitting.
This book is definitely not for younger readers or readers who need excitement.

posted by Cassandraa22 on September 16, 2009

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  • Posted January 17, 2009

    The Most Mind Expanding Book You Can Read

    My English teacher told us near Halloween of 2008, that we had to read a book called Heart of Darkness. He said it would expand out mind and we would feel smarter after reading it. I didn¿t believe him and I didn¿t believe any book could make ME feel smarter. I had already heard from people in my grade that it was boring and hard, yet from my trusty English teacher, I heard it was very good. I started reading the book with a positive attitude and found it quite confusing after the first couple pages. Then, by the end of the first chapter I found myself wanting to read more. I found it to be intriguing how each sentence can be perceived in different ways. As I kept reading the book, I got more and more interested. Joseph Conrad had to be a brilliant man to write a book filled with such meaning and context to each sentence. The book had flashbacks which did confuse me at first but as soon as my wonderful English teacher explained it I understood. I compare Joseph Conrad to Shakespeare, because in Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad had an underlying meaning to his sentences, like Shakespeare did in Romeo and Juliet. This book wasn¿t exactly easy, but it was a challenge and it made me actually use my brain. It made me think about how Conrad wrote the book and how he was feeling while he wrote this. I asked myself all these questions and pondered on what I believe is the main message in this book is. I believe that the main message that he is trying to perceive is that man kind is scared of the unknown and no matter if we are ¿civilized¿ or not we are still animals. The Europeans thought that they needed to ¿civilize¿ the natives because they didn¿t understand technology or Christianity, but really the Europeans were the ones who needed to be civilized. The Europeans were taking land from the natives and taking their ivory at whatever cost. They would kill for money; I don¿t think that¿s very civilized or Christian. I really believe that the message that we are all animals was the main perceived message that Conrad tried to get to his audience. <BR/>I really did enjoy this book and I would recommend it to anybody who wants a challenge. Even if you aren¿t that good at reading I would subject that you read it and if you have any questions to go to a teacher (if you¿re in school) or get Spark Notes, to help you understand some of the difficult parts in the book. It¿s very rewarding and if you are looking for a wonderful intriguing, mind expanding book, then I definitely recommend Heart of Darkness.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2006

    Uderappreciated and Not Understood

    If I were to pick the top 5 books that have influenced my life, this would always make that list, and quite frequently it would be number one. This is the masterpeice from the foremost stylist of the 20th Century. This book is so dense and carefully written that everything is calculated and deliberate in promoting his many themes. No one has looked harder or longer into the human heart than Conrad did. This book will change your life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2007

    Wonderful

    This book does not get the credit it deserves. I think this is partly because most people would not stick through the subtle beginning. This novella offers wonderful insight into the period of imperialism and into the depths of what it does to those involved. It has strong messages and themes that are ever more relevant today. Barnes and Noble offers a great edition of this book - the endnotes really help you to understand the context of the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Alaha

    Kota?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Kota

    Girl.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    tristen/Lace

    Guy or girl?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be well-read an

    This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be well-read and educated.  The book is fantastic, and like several true classics, it has little plot.  The purpose of Conrad's book was not to entrance the reader with a glorious plot but instead to comment on the nature of man, hence the title.  While you may need a study guide to help you get the most from the work, it's definitely worth the effort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Short but Powerful Classic!

    Excellent 'gateway' book to spark an interest in the rest of the Classics! After reading this book, you will have a deeper appreciation of its movie adaptation, "Apocalypse Now."

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  • Posted March 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I felt so sad when I read some of the reviews :( However, Conrad

    I felt so sad when I read some of the reviews :(
    However, Conrad is not for everyone. He requires us to work by appreciating our intelligence and relies on our own experiences with people to make our own judgements and use our own perceptions of reality and nature. Also it is definitely true that for a lot of younger students (high school) this is just plain boring. I think the only younger students who will enjoy this book are those who are interested in literature rather than just a commercial book that sells.

    I think this is a great collection of some of Conrad's stories put together in one book where it is easily accessible. They all read quickly and in different but equal ways are interesting, intriguing and unique.
    All of Conrad's works are difficult, tense, psychological and have many different motifs, symbols that adds to the intricately layered themes. His characters are always human, 3-D,and characters that we can analyze in depth from any lens we may wish to dissect them.
    Conrad, wrote in another era, with different values, different beliefs in a much different world than ours. His reality was much different than ours, however his analysis of characters, environments, situations is always brilliant and I find it that he always gets to the core of human nature under different circumstances and times that can hold true even centuries from today.
    He gives a great deal of detailed descriptions, flash backs which can sometimes confuse the reader, which sometimes can be overwhelming and a negative point for many modern readers. However, we must remember during Conrad's time this was how things were done.
    Conrad's writing style is quite unique, original and his syntax, diction, word choice are brilliant, also very different from his own time, due to not being a native English speaker. This all adds to a writing style that uniquely and solely belongs to Conrad which for me is charming and a selling point (not always for others unfortunately).
    I love this book and would recommend it to anyone who wishes to see the colonialism period from a different set of eyes with different interpretation and to get to the &quot;heart of darkness&quot; of human nature, this is a MUST READ COLLECTION.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Kurtz... monster or angel?

    That is the question I am left with at the end of the title story here... and isn't that the question everyone is left with when it comes to summing up a life? And isn't "the horror, the horror" a valid set of last words? I don't know... what I do know is that this story has given me a lot to think about... mixed with images that may forever be burned into my imagination. And really - isn't that what all truly great literature ought to do?

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  • Posted May 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Intense, Inspiring, Philosphical... & More

    It was a great book. I HIGHLY recommend reading it slowly and then rereading it again. Make sure to pay very close attention to the little details and watch for the symbols. Also, I would recommend making notes in the margins. Do not skip a page, a paragraph, or even a word because that alone could make or break the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2008

    Truly a thought-provoking read

    As the title suggests, this is truly a thought-provoking read. Full of ironies and dark depictions of the human soul, one who is looking for some philosophy mixed with adventure will not be disappointed. The main character of Kurtz becomes very real, but possibly even more real is the ubiquitous darkness surrounding the characters, places, and deeds in this book. Note: Don't read into the cries of racism some might provide there are no anti-black sentiments in this book. Some people are apt to castigate a book for bearing any hint of a negative portrayal of certain peoples, and in this case, the black natives are not even demonstrated as poorly as the white imperialists! This book is an exploration into the human psyche, so don't pay any regard to the contemptuous remarks of simple minds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2007

    Excellent and Misunderstood

    Many will claim the message is overdone in literature. Of course where do you think they got it. THE NOVEL IS GENIUS. get the ideas of a superior modern race out of your head and understand that this is a classic for a reason: it is from an earlier time in history. How can you critique perfection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2006

    A true classic

    I re-read this short novel recently and was struck by how modern it seemed, at least in sensibility. Sure, the pace is slow, because it is building a mood. This is not a pop novel, but as a portrayal of European colonization of Africa, nothing surpasses it. As an exploration of a person seeking to impose their 'goodness' on others less 'noble', it is very modern indeed. Read it, then go see Apocalypse Now, which is the tale updated to the '70's. Unfortunately, both are highly relevant still.

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    Posted October 30, 2010

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    Posted November 25, 2011

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    Posted March 15, 2011

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    Posted April 21, 2009

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    Posted September 18, 2010

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    Posted June 20, 2011

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