Cover image for Heart of darkness
Heart of darkness
Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924.
Personal Author:
Large print edition.
Publication Information:
Los Angeles : LRS, 1997.
Physical Description:
160 pages (large print) ; 25 cm.
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X Young Adult Fiction Large Print

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"Heart of Darkness" grew out of a journey Joseph Conrad took up the Congo River; the verisimilitude that the great novelist thereby brought to his most famous tale everywhere enhances its dense and shattering power. Apparently a sailor's yarn, it is in fact a grim parody of the adventure story, in which the narrator, Marlow, travels deep into the heart of the Congo where he encounters the crazed idealist Kurtz and discovers that the relative values of the civilized and the primitive are not what they seem. "Heart of Darkness" is a model of economic storytelling, an indictment of the inner and outer turmoil caused by the European imperial misadventure, and a piercing account of the fragility of the human soul.

Author Notes

Joseph Conrad is recognized as one of the 20th century's greatest English language novelists.

He was born Jozef Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857, in the Polish Ukraine. His father, a writer and translator, was from Polish nobility, but political activity against Russian oppression led to his exile. Conrad was orphaned at a young age and subsequently raised by his uncle.

At 17 he went to sea, an experience that shaped the bleak view of human nature which he expressed in his fiction. In such works as Lord Jim (1900), Youth (1902), and Nostromo (1904), Conrad depicts individuals thrust by circumstances beyond their control into moral and emotional dilemmas. His novel Heart of Darkness (1902), perhaps his best known and most influential work, narrates a literal journey to the center of the African jungle. This novel inspired the acclaimed motion picture Apocalypse Now.

After the publication of his first novel, Almayer's Folly (1895), Conrad gave up the sea. He produced thirteen novels, two volumes of memoirs, and twenty-eight short stories. He died on August 3, 1924, in England.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Hesperus's centenary edition of the Conrad classic also includes The Congo Diary and Up-River Book, which essentially are notes from his six-month stay in the Congo in 1890. His travels there and sojourn on the river apparently served as the inspiration for the novel. The book also features introductions for Heart and The Congo Diary as well as textual notes for all sections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Undergraduate courses designed to introduce students to the study of literature or, more particularly, to the study of critical approaches to fiction, would find Murfin's collection of essays on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness a useful text. The essays, written by five respected critics (including Federick R. Karl) specifically for this collection, are designed to model each of five current critical schools: the psychoanalytic, reader-response, feminist, deconstructive, and new historicist perspectives. Murfin introduces the collection with a history of 20th-century criticism that beginners will find helpful, and prefaces each of the essays with his own commentary on the techniques of the critical approach being illustrated. The volume also includes the text of Conrad's masterpiece with a detailed review of the biographical and historical context of the story, and a glossary of key terms used in the literature of contemporary literary theory and criticism. Murfin (Univeristy of Miami) is also the editor of Conrad Revisited: Essays for the Eighties (1985), and the author of books on Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence. P. D. O'Connor Aquinas College



The story of the enigmatic Kurtz and his outpost in deepest Congo as told by Marlow's is an adventure story that examines the intent and effects of colonization. It remains one of the most controversial and profound writings of world literature. Excerpted from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.