A masterpiece of twentieth-century writing, Heart of Darkness (1902) exposes the tenuous fabric that holds "civilization" together and the brutal horror at the center of European colonialism. Conrad's crowning achievement recounts Marlow's physical and psychological journey deep into the heart of the Belgian Congo in search of the mysterious trader Kurtz.
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."
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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."