Heart of Darkness
“Abounds with passages that seem terrifyingly contemporary” —Caryl Phillips
For many years Heart of Darkness has been considered a great novella, one of a few great short novels in the Western canon. Because it addresses directly the ambiguity of good and evil, when it was first published the novel foreshadowed many of the themes and stylistic devices that define modern literature. One of Conrad’s finest stories, loosely based on the author’s experience of rescuing a company agent from a remote station in the heart of the Congo, Heart of Darkness is set in an atmosphere of mystery and lurking danger, and tells of Marlow’s perilous journey up the Congo River to relieve his employer’s agent, the fabled and terrifying Mr. Kurtz. What Marlow sees on his journey horrifies and perplexes him, and what his encounter with Kurtz reveals calls into question all of his assumptions about civilization and human nature.
Endlessly reinterpreted by critics and read in schools by countless students, the novel has been adapted numerous times for film-most famously Apocalypse Now—and shows Conrad at his finest, most intense, and most sophisticated. Heart of Darkness was originally published in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in 1899 and published in book form in 1902.