HEART OF DARKNESS

HEART OF DARKNESS

3.6 121
by Joseph Conrad
     
 

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The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of
the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly
calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come
to and wait for the turn of the tide.

The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of
an interminable waterway.…  See more details below

Overview

The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of
the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly
calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come
to and wait for the turn of the tide.

The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of
an interminable waterway. In the offing the sea and the sky were welded
together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails
of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red
clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished sprits. A
haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness.
The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed
condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest,
and the greatest, town on earth.

The Director of Companies was our captain and our host. We four
affectionately watched his back as he stood in the bows looking to
seaward. On the whole river there was nothing that looked half so
nautical. He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness
personified. It was difficult to realize his work was not out there in
the luminous estuary, but behind him, within the brooding gloom.

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of
the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of
separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's
yarns--and even convictions. The Lawyer--the best of old fellows--had,
because of his many years and many virtues, the only cushion on deck,
and was lying on the only rug. The Accountant had brought out already a
box of dominoes, and was toying architecturally with the bones. Marlow
sat cross-legged right aft, leaning against the mizzen-mast. He had
sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back, an ascetic aspect,
and, with his arms dropped, the palms of hands outwards, resembled an
idol. The Director, satisfied the anchor had good hold, made his way
aft and sat down amongst us. We exchanged a few words lazily. Afterwards
there was silence on board the yacht. For some reason or other we did
not begin that game of dominoes. We felt meditative, and fit for nothing
but placid staring. The day was ending in a serenity of still and
exquisite brilliance. The water shone pacifically; the sky, without a
speck, was a benign immensity of unstained light; the very mist on the
Essex marshes was like a gauzy and radiant fabric, hung from the wooded
rises inland, and draping the low shores in diaphanous folds. Only the
gloom to the west, brooding over the upper reaches, became more somber
every minute, as if angered by the approach of the sun.

And at last, in its curved and imperceptible fall, the sun sank low, and
from glowing white changed to a dull red without rays and without heat,
as if about to go out suddenly, stricken to death by the touch of that
gloom brooding over a crowd of men.

Forthwith a change came over the waters, and the serenity became less
brilliant but more profound. The old river in its broad reach rested
unruffled at the decline of day, after ages of good service done to the
race that peopled its banks, spread out in the tranquil dignity of a
waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth. We looked at the
venerable stream not in the vivid flush of a short day that comes and
departs for ever, but in the august light of abiding memories. And
indeed nothing is easier for a man who has, as the phrase goes,
"followed the sea" with reverence and affection, than to evoke the
great spirit of the past upon the lower reaches of the Thames. The tidal
current runs to and fro in its unceasing service, crowded with memories
of men and ships it had borne to the rest of home or to the battles
of the sea. It had known and served all the men of whom the nation is
proud, from Sir Francis Drake to Sir John Franklin, knights all, titled
and untitled--the great knights-errant of the sea. It had borne all the
ships whose names are like jewels flashing in the night of time, from
the Golden Hind returning with her round flanks full of treasure, to be
visited by the Queen's Highness and thus pass out of the gigantic tale,
to the Erebus and Terror, bound on other conquests--and that never
returned. It had known the ships and the men. They had sailed from
Deptford, from Greenwich, from Erith--the adventurers and the settlers;
kings' ships and the ships of men on 'Change; captains, admirals, the
dark "interlopers" of the Eastern trade, and the commissioned "generals"
of East India fleets.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012363053
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
04/17/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
103 KB

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The Heart Of Darkness 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 121 reviews.
theokester More than 1 year ago
I'm somewhat torn. The English Major in me would really like to give this book a higher rating. The reader in me has a hard time doing so. I thought that approaching it a second time as a seasoned English Major would result in a better perspective. Admittedly, I think I got more out of the plot this time and see much more depth and symbolism in the book...but I still found myself struggling to stay awake at times. What's sad is that this is not necessarily a slow paced or boring book. It's filled with exploration, political intrigue, violent deaths, savage attacks and other moments of suspense and tension. And yet, it is also filled with lengthy monologues on the nature of man and the perspectives of our narrator Marlow (who is actually a secondary narrator if you want to get technical, since he's telling the story to an unnamed narrator who appears very little in the book at all...a very strange setup). The craft or structure of this novel is intriguing and I suspect is a large reason why this is such a classic. As I mentioned briefly above, the narrative style is a little different. The "official" narrator of the book is an unnamed man sitting on a boat. However, the meat of the story is actually told by another man on the boat (Marlow) who is actually telling this story to our unnamed narrator. There are also segments where Marlow is re-telling something someone else said to him or something he read, thus leaving us three or four times removed from the actual events of the story. His spoken narrative is also sometimes a little disjointed and sometimes conversational as though he's lost his train of thought while telling the story or he's distracted or interrupted by something or someone on the ship with our actual narrator. The book is full of symbolism and allusion. It can definitely be taken as a commentary on many different aspects of Africa, colonialism, Imperialism, savagery, humanity, principles, beliefs, truths, and many other high level themes. However, the book doesn't seem to come up with any concrete answers about any of these and even leaves us in the darkness as to exactly which commentary we should be paying attention to. Truly, many social commentaries leave off just short of prescribing a plan of action, but they generally make their arguments fairly clear. In the case of Heart of Darkness, I feel like I came away more muddled than when I began. Yes, I acknowledge that oppression of so-called savages is not to be condoned, but I knew that ahead of time...and honestly, I'm not entirely sure that oppression is the core meaning of the novel. I appreciate that this novel has depth to it that I don't understand. It's definitely a difficult novel that's hard to truly access. It's high level plot and themes are intriguing, but I don't feel that they stand well enough on their own to warrant an outrageous following. In order to truly appreciate this book, I feel that it requires very in-depth study and discussion of weeks or months. Maybe I'm just looking for too much, and if that's the case, then my view of the book goes down even more. Maybe I'm just obtuse and missing the point, which means my review is unfortunately lower than it should be. Whatever the reason, I don't love this novel and don't anticipate reading it again. If somebody else reads it and loves it and wants to discuss it with me and turn me around, I'd gladly open a discussion, but for now, I stick by my rating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is probably one of the best novels I have read, and its place in the English canon is well deserved. I don't agree with the Achebe line of criticism. Even setting aside the question of Conrad's personal beliefs, which don't necessarily accord with Achebe's assesment, I think it's hard to argue that the book is anything but negative on the European, colonialist outlook. It is true that you could read and celebrate the brutality and dehumanization of the Africans herein, but to do that you would have to overlook a lot of the text. Obviously not at all coincidentally, it would be similar to but more willfully ignorant than people taking Apocalypse Now as a pro-war movie. On that note, I strongly look forward to the movie or book that, much like Coppola did for Vietnam, presents an explicit adaptation of this book to American brutality, exploitation, and imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think this book should be taught in more high schools so that more people are exposed to its commentary on those kinds of affronts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A moral journey and an account of how lust for power overpowered one man's soul, heart of darkness is without a doubt one of the greatest stories ever written. Conrad has a command over words similar to Joyce, and some passages are so poetic they make you gasp. This is especially amazing considering English was his third language! Not only is it thought-provoking and meaningful as a parable, but it is also an absorbing read strictly as an adventure story. The most common complaint I've heard about this book is its wordiness. However, in my opinion no extraneous words are included, every one contributes to the nightmare-like atmosphere. If you want succinct writing that says nothing, give up and read Hemingway. If you can't understand this, you shouldn't be criticizing it. That said, this is a truly great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt I was sitting across from Marlow, who is telling the story of his experience in the Congo. This novel is different from most in that it is written so that the reader is listening to someone's story related rather than the reader feeling s/he is there as the story happens. The style matches that of someone telling you his experience as you listen. This makes the style somewhat choppy and sometimes confusing as to who is speaking, the narrator or another character. Nonetheless, I found myself gripped by the tale. I read the book in one sitting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Tsunami<p> Gender: (&female)<p> Species: A Blue Typhoonerang dragon from How to Train Your Dragon.<p> Age: 40 years (dragonet)<p> Looks: Look up 'httyd typhoonerang' on Google Images. Her body scales are a sea blue, and her belly scales are a pearly white. Bright orange eyes with black cat pupils. There are two black backward-curving horns on the back of her head. Her wings are very big compared to her body, and their membranes are the same color as her body scales. Long, whiplike tail.10 feet long from front talon to tailtip, 4 ft tall, and a wingspan of 19 feet.<p> Personality: Cheerful and curious. She is always nosing around in everything and often gets into trouble. Is a big-time pest. She turns into a wild demon in a fight, though.<p> History: I'm a dragonet! I have no history!<p> Crush: <p> Mate: Are you kidding me?!<p> Dragonets: Dragonets don't have dragonets...<p> Parents & Family: Unknown. Since she came, she sticks around with Saphira most of the time.<p> Weapons: Teeth, horns, claws, tail. She is not quite old enough to breathe fire yet.<p> Likes: Forests, water, just about any type of fish, chasing people and other dragons, nosing around, being a pest.<p> Dislikes: Plains, napping, confinement, depressed people & dragons, stiff people & dragons, eels.<p> Other: Go and find out.<p> - &star Tsun&alpha<_>m&iota &star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name -- Poppy. <br> Age -- Timeless. <br> Species -- A Chimaera from the I Am Number 4 series. <br> Gender -- Male. <br> Appearance -- He's a shapeshifter. So . . . I'll just describe him when necessary. <br> Persona -- He is very protective, and a tad insane. <br> Likes -- Clara. <p> I don't know what else to put, honestly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crush: Leonis....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Dante Holimion (Diamonddew). Age: 32. Race: Dunmer (dark elf). Past family: Adran Holimion (dad, deceased), Althaea Holimion (mom, decesased), Bryn Holimion (sister, alive, lives in Skyrim), Rael Holimion (brother, alive, lives in Morrowind). Current family: Katrina Holimion (wife), Thia Holimion (daughter, wood elf), Skylar Holimion (son, high elf), Felony Holimion (daughter, dark elf). Looks: Jet black skin, red eyes, small ponytail, orcish armor. Powers: Shapeshifting into dragon named Morrowind. Personality: Get to know me. Other: Nien.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Flora Lollipop <p> Age: 17 <p> Species: Human <p> Looks: Frizzy carmel hair. Green eyes. Always wears a purple shirt that says 'Live Life and Love Animals' <p> Crush: None <p> Height: 5'9 <p> Personality: Kind. Cannot hurt her feelings <p> Powers: None <p> Siggy: Fl0r &alpha L0llip0p <p> Anything else ask.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name Arya<p> Age ? <p> Gender &female <p> Personality Meet Me! <p> Appearance Dark blue eyes. Slim body. Waist length light brown hair. Silver and peach colored wings. Normally wearsba graphic tshirt with a swan on it. Has a peach and silver streak in her hair. <p> Crush not yet. <p> ////////Siggy &star A&pi.y&alpha &star
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: learn to look at the headline.--- Age: 16--- Gender: girl--- Height: 4'7(about average)--- Weight: you dont ask a girl that!---- Looks: glossy waistlength black hair with red and green streaks. Green eyes with specks of gold. Roundsided heartshaped face. Small nose. Sparkly lip gloss. Mascara. Small waist. Nice hips and body.---Wears: tightfitted red tanktop. Black miniskirt. Black boots up to just below the knee. Always wears a ruby necklace around her throat. She found it and it seems to hold a mysterious power.---Personality/attitude: usually nice and friendly but can come up as snotty sometimes. Also brave, fair, noble, and willing.---Likes: her pet dragon, adventure, good hearts, food, and trying new things.--- Dislikes: evil hearts, seeing others hurt, and broccoli.--- Dragon: named Fusion. He is a beautiful red dragon with an orange belly and chest. He follows Everly around and loves her dearly. He will also protect her with his life. He is loyal to her. He is a fire breed type dragon.--- Other identities: pokemon girl, Topaz, and Rebecca.---Other: JUST ASK ON ANY OTHER RESULT.-------------
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And somebody waking up does not destroy somebody else!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name :: Lieutenant Buttface<p>Gender :: walrus flavored potatoe<p>Age :: 400[looks to be about 17]<p>Species :: elf<p>Height :: about 4'3<p>Looks :: long copper hair that is slightly curly. It reaches her waist. She has sharp green eyes and, like all elves, pointed ears. She is odly short for her age. She always wears a tight fitting black leather jumpsuit and knee-high tight fitting black boots<p>Crush :: none...<p>Dragon-crush[the dragon she wants to have a bond with] :: Saphira<p>Weapons :: a bow that when she pulls back the string, an elemental arrow materializes on the string, a long curved blade, and a water gun[jk]. She has a small dagger hidden in her jumpsuit<p>Personality :: wary, kind and gentle, very fiery temper if you threaten her friends or family, quiet and shy sometimes<p>Parents :: Ariana Silverblade[mother, dead], James Silverblade[father, dead], Thomas Silverblade[brother, dead], and Selena Silverblade[sister, alive]<p>Likes :: being with friends and family, sometimes being alone, reading, singing<p>Dislikes :: timber wolves, most dragons[bad experiences]<p>Special Powers :: nature, shapeshifting[when threatened or angry], and ice<p>History :: when Katrina was only 3, a large group of dragons attacked her village. They killed her whole family except her brother and sister. She an her siblings escaped from the flames and hid in a nearby forest. The dragons kiled everyone in the village. The siblings cared for eachother. They survived for a while. Then, when Katrina was only 13, she and her siblings were out hunting. She and her sister heard a scream. They recognized it as their brother, Thomas. They met up with each other and went out looking for him. They came into a clearing and found him lying on a bed of moss, surrounded by a pool if blood<p>Other :: ask<p>Siggy :: &#9830KatriNa&#9830<p>|__KatRiNa__|
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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This wad okay Not as good as id hoped it would be, but you cant like them all
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The reading feint of heart that is. If you can't get through the first two chapters of this, you will never read the book. It also takes the ability to visualize beyond the words, read between the lines and place yourself back in the late 1890's with its style of writing and the age they lived in. All that being said, this is a tremendous work, well worth the effort. And of course, once you've read it, you will see where Francis Ford Coppola got his inspiration from for Apocalypse Now.
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