Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness Summary

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.

Book Reviews


A reflection on imperialism5 star

This was assigned to me in high school as mandatory reading 30 years ago. It was interesting to read this again. It was and still is heavy subject matter.55


Good copy5 star

Many of these free download are rife with typos. This copy of HOD was fine—no problems. Of course it’s a stunning piece of prose—especially considering he came late to English.55


An Interesting and (Fairly) Quick Read4 star

I was asked to read this book in college, so of course I didn’t at the time, but have been revisiting some of those books I wish I had had the time to give the proper attention to back then. (They’re classics for a reason). Now, having more time to spare, I decided to revisit this one. First an foremost, any fan of the film “Apocalypse Now” should read this but hopefully I don’t need to state that. The story itself is engaging and heavy at times when the language is outdated and there is not much going on action-wise. Due to the subject and time period at hand, there are some obviously offensively racist passages but when viewed in the proper light, they are a glimpse into that time and a reminder of the horrible atrocities of the colonization and subsequent dismantling of African countries for their natural resources. The main character & story teller, Marlow, is kind of ambiguous in everything. It seems he is not “on the side of” Africans but he does not treat them quite as poorly as most other characters. It is clear that he does not have the same fanatical admiration of Kurtz that many others do but he is fascinated by him in a different way. I felt myself slightly frustrated by much of this, although admittedly, perhaps his repeatedly calling Kurtz “remarkable” was meant to have deeper meaning attached than I attributed to it. Maybe a more scholarly approach to this book is the right one to take. All in all, this will probably not be the most interesting thing you’ll read for most people but it’s not long and there are moments that are surely worth the time and effort to spend reading it.45

Mr cool president wiz

What a work5 star

We had to read this for English class, and I absolutely despise English. This is the only book so far I’ve related and understood in thorough depth. From the adventure to imagery and symbolism, it is through and through an excellent work.55

Purpah Jesus

Got better with synopsis4 star

I will admit, I had a tough time with this book in the middle of it, but reading a plot synopsis helped me understand the purpose of the book a lot. The ending was beautiful and made everything worth it, though the tone and style of the story being told definitely take a little time to get used to.45


Unimpressed1 star

In a word, unimpressed. I knew there was a reason that I refused to read this book in high school after the first five pages — and having finished it just now only confirms my misgivings almost 25 years ago. Without the absurdly excessive and redundant descriptions and metaphors, this book would have been 10 pages, at the most. But the lengthiness is not my main issue with this story. My problem is how little time is committed to developing the extent of Marlow’s relationship with Kurtz, given Conrad’s insistence on convincing the reader how well Marlow knew Kurtz. That drove me nuts! Marlow is talking about Kurtz at the end of the book as if he had spent years in the bush with him, when the book seems to have dedicated less than 40 pages to the actual Kurtz-Marlow dialogue. In closing, I would like to note that Conrad’s style of writing, particularly his use of comma splices and long sentences is EXACTLY why I tell my graduate students to avoid comma splices and the passive voice as much as possible in their writing. Safe to say, I’ll never read anything by Conrad again.15


Heart of darkness2 star

Hated this book. Did not finish it25


Joseph Conrad is a genius5 star

To read this book, a certain lens must be put on to fully understand its material: the lens of humanity. There is a moral credence that Conrad writes with to share his experiences with the world. If you make the mistake of reading from the lens of commerce or history, you would be sorely disappointed in the lack of detail. The characters are shaped by the darkness of the times where African people were looked upon as savages. The sympathy that one needs to give to another ruins those in power over the ivory industry of the Belgian Congo.55

Dai Daniel

Great5 star

Bringing back the Lord of flies55


Heart of Darkness4 star

a great book that describes the struggles as a african american. this book has many similies that make the story come alive. This book is not for kids but a great classic.45

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