In this pair of literary voyages into the inner self, Joseph Conrad has written two of the most chilling disturbing, and noteworthy pieces of fiction of this century. Heart of Darkness, which first appeared in Blackwood's Magazine in 1902,makes a devastating comment on the corruptibility of humankind. Based on Conrad's own 1890 trip up the Congo river, the story is told by Marlow, the novelist's alter ego. It is a journey into darkness and horror-both literally, as the narrator descends into a sinister jungle landscape and metaphorically, as he witnesses the depths of moral depravity symbolized by agent Kurtz. Another voyage into self occurs in The Secret Sharer, the tale of a young sea captain's first command as he sails into the Gulf of Siam0and into an encounter with his "double" the Jungian shadow self of the unconscious mind.
Joseph Conrad boldly experimented with the novella and novel forms, filling his writing with the exotic places he himself had traveled, and concerned himself with honor, guilt, moral alienation, and expiation of sin. Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer encapsulate his literary achievements-his haunting portrayal of the dark side of man.
Weird, dark, timeless fiction. This has more darkness in it than any Clive Barker or Stephen King story, because theirs are fantasy violence like Killer Klowns...this is real violence, plausible and closer to reality than theirs.
I read Heart of Darkness with my daughter as part of a literature reading assignment for high school. I found the language used in the novel to be very dense with long sentences and paragraphs. The story is told in a rather unique way with the narrator actually telling of a narration of another person, Marlow, about his experience as a river-boat captain in Africa. The story take place in the late 1800s in the Congo and is basically an anti-imperialist and anti-slavery work. It is also fundamentally an adventure story showing the perils of a journey into "darkest Africa."
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Charles Marlow tells a group of British friends about his journey into a part of central Africa which was then the private property of Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Marlow recalls the absurdities and atrocities which he witnessed: a Frnch warship shelling the continent, the cruel treatment of enslaved black laborers, and the remorseless rapacity of the white colonialists who are impelled by the desire for profits from ivory. He looks forward to meeting Mr. Kurtz, the greatly talented and idealistic European trader; but, when he reaches the dying adventure, he finds that the idealist has become deranged and depraved. The "heart of darkness" we learn, is not simply the jungle at the center of Africa; it is also the corrupt heart of Kurtz, and it may even be European imperialism itself..."
I read these classic tales in high school, and I recall that I enjoyed "Heart of Darkness." It lives true to it's name, revealing the dark and evil soul of Mr. Kurtz (the main character). This copy was well used in school and has some underlining and notes, but is in perfectly readable condition!
Heart of barkness. The story of the civilized, enlightened Mr. Kurtz who embarks on a harrowing night journey into the savage heart of Africa, only to find his dark and evil soul.
Teh secret sharer. The saga of a young, inexperienced skipper forced to decide the fate of a fugitive salior who killed a man in self-defense. As he faces his first moral test the skipper discovers a terrifying truth and comes face to face with the secret itself.
Jessica reviewed Heart of Darkness / The Secret Sharer on
(from back cover)
Heart of Darkness. The story of the civilized, enlightened Mr. Kurtz who embarks on a harrowing "night journey" into the savage heart of Africa, only to find his dark and evil soul.
The Secret Sharer. The saga of a young, inexperienced skipper forced to decide the fate of a fugitive-sailor who killed a man in self-defense. As he faces his first moral test the skipper discovers a terrifying truth--and comes face to face with his secret self.
I read this book in school and I keep thinking that I will read it again but I never do. I remember having a hard time getting through it when I was reading it in school and I was glad that I had my teacher to help me through the symbolizm.