Heart of Darkness (1899) is a short novel by Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, written as a frame narrative, about Charles Marlow’s life as an ivory transporter down the Congo River in Central Africa. The river is “a mighty big river, that you could see on the map, resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country, and its tail lost in the depths of the land”. In the course of his travel in central Africa, Marlow becomes obsessed with Mr. Kurtz.
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Hard to read but worth it
I saw the movie”Apocalypse Now" when it first came out. Then I was watching the directors' cut recently and I realised that there were a couple parts of the movie that I really dodn'tunderstand. In reading the book “Heart of Darkness" I've feel understood Kurtz more than did. The book is written in a very difficult English and so you have to really take your time trying understand. Feel free to look up words and phrases that you don't understand as they'll help you understand the book better.
Still great, still relevant
I have not the skill to review this masterpiece properly.
But what I have experienced that many have not is life on this same river in the early eighties. The vast gulf in outlook and opportunity between those from away and those within persists these many years later. "Unsound practices" are practiced on a scale unimaginable in Conrad's time.
The horror that the west has visited upon The Congo/Zaire/DRC is beyond comprehension. The USA actively supported Mobutu Sese Seko, extending and exacerbating the horror begun by the Belgians.
In the same vein of great storytelling I recommend Barbara Kingsolver's masterpiece "The Poisonwood Bible" as a superb follow on to the travesty of Colonial behavior. It is by far my favorite contemporary novel.
Francis Ford Coppola's disturbing, and truly great, movie "Apocalypse Now" shows what legs this little tome of the 1800s yet has today. It is the backbone upon which Coppola crafted his masterpiece.
"The Heart of Darkness" is an apt allegory for 2016. I hope it continues to be read in schools and universities. Like all great works of art "The Heart of Darkness" sequentially reveals with each subsequent reading. As you find yourself in the next life stage it will continue to enlighten ever more.
Perhaps, someday, the light flowing from our hearts will beat back the darkness that is within everyone of us.