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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 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."
|About the Series|
|About This Volume|
|Introduction: Biographical and Historical Contexts||3|
|The Complete Text||17|
|A Critical History of Heart of Darkness||99|
|Reader-Response Criticism and Heart of Darkness||115|
|A Reader-Response Perspective: Heart of Darkness and the Politics of Displacement||131|
|Feminist and Gender Criticism and Heart of Darkness||148|
|A Feminist and Gender Perspective: "Too Beautiful Altogether": Ideologies of Gender and Empire in Heart of Darkness||169|
|Deconstruction and Heart of Darkness||185|
|A Deconstructive Perspective: Heart of Darkness Revisited||206|
|The New Historicism and Heart of Darkness||221|
|A New Historicist Perspective: Preserving and Keeping Order by Killing Time in Heart of Darkness||239|
|Cultural Criticism and Heart of Darkness||258|
|A Cultural Perspective: Heart of Darkness: Anti-Imperialism, Racism, or Impressionism?||277|
|Glossary of Critical and Theoretical Terms||299|
|About the Contributors||313|
Posted July 30, 2004
I remember when i was a student ,i heard my teacher telling me she read .Heart of Darkness but never understood it!It was surprizing to hear a teacher ,give such a comment as any one who succeeds to become a teacher at a Masters level should have good comprehension and a grasp on literary works. Years later I decided to read the book on my own I began and at first felt ,that i wont be able to finish it.......... but my determination to be a well read person urged me to complete it, somehow. I completed it but was at a loss as my feelings did not turn out to be different from that of my teacher. There are two characters in the novel Marlowe and Kurtz ,a ship ,some known and unknown shores,white men and niggers and the rest is all misty...............Marlowe is connected to Kurtz long before he actually appears on the scene.These characters and the journey carry some symbolic meaning and present a peculiar idea.This novel reminded me of another novel by Virginia Woolfe ...Mrs Dalloway which is equally abstract but that belongs to the category of stream of consciousness novel, which is an exterme form of the psychological novel and follows a technique which itself , explains its vaguness.......................... Heart of Darkness is a short novel and. Its short narrative also shows that the writer delebriately did not indulge in creating many scenes and introducing many characters as he just wanted to present one particular idea ............some dark secret or sin perhaps that lurks in peoples mind or is prevalant in society,,,,,, which can be perceived and effect, only a hypersensitive writer................Whatever the hidden meaing underlying Conrads novel......... one thing is for sure Heart of Darkness is an out of the ordinary novel which presents an idea which though seemingly incomprehenible is in reality mysteriusly Sublime!I intend to read it again a little later in order to extract more meaning out of it and i am sure once its completely understood it should be given five stars. .Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 1, 2003
HEART OF DARKNESS is one of the richest books in literature. However, it is also one of the most difficult to wade through and understand for its true value. Many readers of this novel will not appreciate it for its underlying irony and metaphor for a greater picture. It is an incredible work of art, but one that MUST NOT be read without careful attention to detail and a love for deciphering symbolism, metaphor, allegory, and any other lit term you can think of.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 8, 2003
Contrived and pompous, I could not get past the first section. I understand that there is supposed to be a lot of symbolism here, but when the story moves along at an absolutely mundane pace, what's the point? If you want an allegory, read Plato's Republic.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 18, 2003
This is one of the best novels ever written!! I first read this book my senior year of high school and after three months of intense reading and discerning the deeper meaning of words I truly came to really love this book. The story of Marlow¿s journey down the Nile River leading to the ¿heart of darkness¿ engulfs the reader in savagery and the cruelty of humankind. Not only does Marlow find out what the true ¿heart of darkness¿ is but the reader will also get to develop his/her own theory of how they envision the true dark side of humanity. Heart of Darkness is a deep novel that explores the inhumanity and greed of individuals. This book is a truly great piece of literature that should be read by everyone who appreciates the dark side of humanity. Throughout the book Conrad reveals to the reader the lust for power and control that people wish to possess. This book should be read with attention to precise details and related symbols. Heart of Darkness is for any reader who likes to interpret symbols, metaphors, allegories, diction or any other literary device. Conrad truly does convey a sense of how the desire for power and control leads to a life of insanity and madness. Even though this book was written over 100 years ago its themes of light/dark, good/evil, civilized/savage are still present in today¿s world and can be related to events that occur all over the world. Conrad does an excellent job of demeaning and reducing humankind to a sort of savagery that symbolizes a deeper meaning in the book. The tone that the author sets of darkness helps surround the reader and draws them deeper into the novel allowing them to discover the intense reality and truth that is hidden within the story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 5, 2003
Those who don't see the evil and horror in human nature in this novel, you need to grow up. The trip down the congo is a metaphor into the darkness of our own hearts -treating another race like dirt and raping their land. If you don't see it, you must have a heart as blind and cold as the King of Belgium. Enough said.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 16, 2002
More than just a history of the often horrible things that occur during colonization of all too foreign places, this book shows the true nature of man - darkness. The book is truly a classic and a great work in literature for those who want to see the symbolism and its applications to man. I would especially recommend this book to those who enjoy reading Golding's works like "Lord of the Flies".Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 3, 2002
Posted November 19, 2001
Posted October 15, 2001
Waste of time. Waste of money. Disappointing. What was the point? We must have missed something, because we didn't get much out of this 'great classic.' If Conrad had something important to say about human nature - why did he have to torture us with that slow, painful, boring trip up the river? consensus: Class will consider forgiving teacher for making them read this if she shows Wizard of Oz in class.
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 May 13, 2009
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