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Joyce Carol Oates on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness:
Heart of Darkness has had an influence that goes beyond the ...
Joyce Carol Oates on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness:
Heart of Darkness has had an influence that goes beyond the specifically literary. This parable of a man's 'heart of darkness' dramatized in the alleged 'Dark Continent' of Africa transcended its late Victorian era to acquire the stature of one of the great, if troubling, visionary works of western civilization."
"Darkness never looked so good: Matt Kish's illustrated edition of Joseph Conrad's classic follows the template he created with Moby-Dick In Pictures ."
— The National Post
"For your friend who slept through English class, an illustrated version of a classic: Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad and illustrated by Matt Kish."
— The Airship (picked Matt Kish's Heart of Darkness as one of the best books of 2013!)
"Two years after his infinitely wonderful illustrations for every page of Moby-Dick, which ranked among the best art and design books of 2011, self-taught Ohio-based artist Matt Kish returns with an equally exquisite edition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (public library). With one haunting acrylic-paint-and-ink illustration for every page, Kish — whose artwork was included in the excellent compendium The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3 — reinvigorates the Conrad classic and its timeless themes of race, gender, power, privilege, and the dualities of the human soul."
Heart of Darkness, which appeared at the very beginning of our century, was a Cassandra cry announcing the end of Victorian Europe, on the verge of transforming itself into the Europe of violence," wrote the critic Czeslaw Milosz.
Originally published in 1902, Heart of Darkness remains one of this century's most enduring--and harrowing--works of fiction. Written several years after Conrad's grueling sojourn in the Belgian Congo, the novel tells the story of Marlow, a seaman who undertakes his own journey into the African jungle to find the tormented white trader Kurtz. Rich in irony and spellbinding prose, Heart of Darkness is a complex meditation on colonialism, evil, and the thin line between civilization and barbarity.
This edition contains selections from Conrad's Congo Diary of 1890--the first notes, in effect, for the novel which was composed at the end of that decade. Virginia Woolf wrote of Conrad, "His books are full of moments of vision. They light up a whole character in a flash. . . . He could not write badly, one feels, to save his life."
Posted February 8, 2011
The Book Heart of Darkness was a very well thought out story. I would not have understood any of the book without someone to guide me through, but when someone guided me then it made sense to me. I would not recommend this book to anyone in high school or even college unless you have someone who has experience and can explain the book to you. There is a crew on a ship called the Nellie Waiting for the tide of the Thames River to push them out to sea. One of the crew members names is Marlow, and he is telling a story about his experience in Africa. The reason this book was confusing to me is beacuse there are two stories being told at the same time. This book changed the way I read books beacuse it makes you pay attention to every littkle detail in books and it takes you to another level.
14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 3, 2012
I thought that Heart of Darkness was an exceptional book that tells a story about the author’s trip to Africa. I was not sure if I was going to like it or not, until I was half way through the book, because Conrad does a lot of describing and it was a little hard to understand at first. The detail in the book is a key element because it paints a vivid picture for the reader. If reading this book I think that you should go paragraph by paragraph to analyze everything. This book has a touching ending that makes you really think about life. In the beginning of the book Conrad gives a unique perspective by making the narrator of the story the reader. As he wrote it he made a Russian doll effect, by making the reader tell the story to Marlow on a boat and of the story of Marlow’s trip to Africa. I didn’t like how Conrad jumped back between the atmosphere on the boat and what happened in the narration. I think it was hard in the beginning to tell which one was which. In order for Conrad to tell this chronicle in only seventy seven pages and pack a trip that took him a couple months, he had to make some fragment sentences. I think this was necessary but I didn’t like it. The beginning of the book was hard to get through because of the intense detail and futility. When it got closer to the end it was very intriguing and suspenseful. When I first started reading the book I predicted that the sea and the city London would have a big role in the upcoming events. Conrad describes it as a magnificent object that the crew looks up to. Conrad also describes London as a dark gloomy place and I thought that later in the story the “darkness” that they have left behind and the “heart” is the sea of the men’s travels. This was not exactly true but I think there are many “Heart’s of Darkness’” but the main one is the forest being the darkness and how it took over Kurtz’s heart. Overall this was a great story that everyone should read in there lifetime.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 10, 2010
My advanced high school English course read Heart of Darkness this school year. At first look, the book appeared to be dull and uninteresting. After learning about Joseph Conrad's life as a seaman, I couldn't expect any less than a book about a seaman's adventure. Needless to say I was wrong about my first assumption. Old as it may be, this enlightening story is far from tedious.
As we began reading the book, we started with some background notes. We made predictions and all I could draw from the book at that point was that it would be about an adventure at sea. We also questioned why Conrad used a quote from Rumplestiltskin as an epigram at its beginning. I figured out after reading it that he put it there to set the moral of the story; a human life is worth more than all the riches in the world.
The story is set with Marlow, the main character, on the boat. He is talking about his adventure to meet the incomparable Mr. Kurtz, to his other shipmates and us the readers. The things he saw and the people he met filled this lively journey in to the heart of darkness. That being said, my one prediction was definitely being met while reading this book.
As Marlow, the main character's, story unraveled paragraph by paragraph I started to understand what mental torture he was going through. It's a story you have to read slowly to get every single clue. Every part of the puzzle is crucial to understand this particular work of literature. I must say that it made an impact on me. It sharpened my reading comprehension skills and made other books much simpler in comparison. I know for sure that I will remember it, as I get older. I would most certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for a complex book to challenge them, and the movie as a companion.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 2013
This is a wonderful story. However, this edition of the book on my nook is terrible. There are misspellings and improper punctuation that are not in the original paper edition(s). Definitely not for a student who needs to quote passages.
2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 2, 2011
Joseph Conrad has a very unique, deep style of writing that forces the reader to look past the surface meaning of the book. In doing this, as a reader, you mustn't just read Heart of Darkness as if it were a normal book, you have to stop and analyze each and every sentence. If you were to just go through the book and not process the deeper meaning of each sentence then you're leaving out the most vital information. On that note, I would like to say that Heart of Darkness is a wonderful piece of literature to read in a class room environment. This is because the book challenges the mind of the reader and requires their full attention in order for them to understand the book. It also teaches the students many other literary terms. BUT, if you are looking for a book to read for pleasure, this is definitely not the book for you. As stated before Heart of Darkness requires you to analyze each and every sentence, this causes most people to lose interest in the book, including me. So, due to the fact that this is such a challenging piece of literature I would only recommend it if you were in a classroom setting.
2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 15, 2010
Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, was originally published in 1899.
This book is a mystery where the captain of a steamboat, Marlow, needs to find the rapidly deteriorating Kurtz who has delved deep into the center of the ivory trade. Marlow captains his steamboat up the Congo River in the late nineteenth century encountering new experiences as he goes along on his journey to find the Kurtz who at this time he idolizes.
The story progresses quickly, as it is a novella, but because of this it can also be difficult to understand. Though it does progress quickly it does follow through without detours. In the novel the characters also change in their own ways. Marlow, who is also the narrator, changes his viewpoints and ideas of the world. Meanwhile Kurtz has been dwelling in the jungle and has changed everything to a complete opposite of what he was before. The jungle has almost reverted him to a more primitive human having a "heart of darkness" from the evil dealings in which he has partaken. The novella follows through these changes and helps a reader understand the plight of people turning to vices during this period when there is no structure.
As the narrator is a captain, the novella is written in an English maritime style of writing using diction of the seas. The novel contains many nautical terms, which may confuse some readers but with patience they could be understood. This diction helps set the mood of being on a ship and helps the reader come close to living the story.
I think most high school students would be able to read this book, although more reluctant readers will have a little more trouble wading through the diction and following the story.
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Posted May 10, 2012
A great novel needs to take a toll on the reader. Works of darkness,
oppression, and horror of this sort can easily become kitch and misuse
the emotive pathos of wretched acts. This one stays plenty cohesive
and focused. Conrad expertly reflects on the core of evil and plight.
His expression of sin relentlessly strikes the reader with pain and
embarrassment in one's species; in one's world. The quest for Kurtz
parallels Conrad's descent into the heart of the matter as he gets
closer to his ultimate revelation about the utter power of evil, or
horror, of darkness. We find it is beyond humanity, it seethes from
the maw of nature. If these themes seem relevant or intriguing to you,
I recommend this powerful accomplishment of a novel.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 9, 2014
Posted March 16, 2014
Others have liked this book, but perhaps needless to say, I did not like this book. It’s an interesting journey into Africa if one can read it that way aside from the fact that it is only a narrator on a boat speaking of this journey. It certainly merits some of the more gory films that followed—to its merit. However, it is hard to read, especially because it is a story within a story. Even though it could probably be read as great literature, even though there is one great line in it toward the end, it would probably not merit my recommendation.
A product I would recommend is Sirens of Morning Light by Benjamin Anderson, a quest for a man in Iowa to regain his identity, which becomes entangled with people who claim to have known him when he discovers he is a scientific experiment. The narrative is straightforward but contemplative.
Posted January 2, 2014
This edition of the book is flawed on the Nook Simple Touch. You cannot access the additional material past the end of the book text. It immediately defaults to the Nook Library, instead.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 26, 2013
Posted October 29, 2013
Continuing with one above me. Just don't get too detailed in what you don't like. Please dont say bad words about this book or any other books. Its like having your face slapped immediatly with the word s***, or f***. Please dont do this. I am elleven and want to review a book peacefully. Thankyou for your 43 seconds to read these reviews.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 19, 2013
I whip my hair back and forth
I whip my hair back and forth
I whip my hair...back and forth
This book is utter crap.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 7, 2013
Posted March 28, 2013
This was a pretty good book. I did this one for my ap lit class and then we watched the re telling apocalypse now didnt like the movie by itself but really good with the book. Lots of literary devices to look for and double meanings are alwys funWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 19, 2013
I wont lie, the book is a bit hard to get into. But once you start to really grasp the concept of its meaning, you will find yourself understaning conrads message which is a grest one. Deff re read and re read. Put some thought into what you think hes trying to express. Glorification of captaincy perhaps? Or maybe how death takes its toll on people. Read for yourself and see what you come up with.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 12, 2012
As a classic, much has already been written about this great Novella. I would like to contribute a slightly different perspective. Although I’m sure this was not Conrad’s intention, the next person that expresses their doubt concerning “Original Sin,” I’m going to recommend this book. I believe Kurtz to be a man that really does “believe in himself,” and more importantly, believes the grandiose praise other’s lavish on him. Therefore, when he lives the conventions of his contemporary life for the “otherworldly” barbarism of the Congo, his sin and concupiscence goes into overdrive. This is a story about the converse of the missionary that goes into the “Heart of Darkness” in order to bring the Light of the World.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 4, 2012
My sophomore year in high school (this past year) my English teacher made my entire class read this book, as part of our year's line up. When he introduced us to it a couple months in, he confessed that after creating the reading list, he went back, saw this book on it, and thought to himself "What have I done?" He then proceeded to caution us about what a difficult read this is, and how we should be very attentive, and patient with it, assuring us all along that it would be worth the extra effort we would have to put in to fully grasp its concepts.
I'm not sure whether it was that warning that made the book so difficult for me, in a sort of power-of-suggestion way, or if it truly is just a difficult read, but I know that if I hadn't had my English teacher there to walk me through every phrase of the book, I would've been lost. I felt lost as it was, but I do feel like I gained something from reading it, which isn't nothing!
In short, read it. Read it again, and again, and again and I can promise you, each time, you'll find something you missed before. It's layer upon layer of meaning, and if you're looking for a book that will stay with you--constantly tugging at your thoughts and daring you to return for more--then here it is! When I think of this book, I think of Chess Titans. You play level one until you're really good and never lose anymore. Then you move to level two, and play until you're really good and never lose. Then level three, then four, then five, then six, then seven, then eight, then nine, then ten. And by ten, you're amazing! Just replace 'level' with 'layer' and you have HoD.
Worth it. Read it.
Posted March 20, 2012
Absolutely terrifying. Each re-read reveals something new and disturbing. By the time Marlow makes it to Kurtz, all humanity is stripped away. What's left is the soul, and it's a horrible thing to see. "The horror. The horror," the enlightened Kurtz says.
The soul of humanity is horrible and dark. But it's that same horribleness that binds all of humanity together. It provides the fuel to do terrible things in the name of a higher cause (in the book's case, that higher cause is to make money by exploiting Africa, but it could be anything). Whether that cause is worth the horribleness it takes to achieve it is something left to the reader.