Heart of Darkness and Other Tales, Paperback Book

Heart of Darkness and Other Tales Paperback

Part of the Oxford World's Classics series

3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


HEART OF DARKNESS * AN OUTPOST OF PROGRESS * KARAIN * YOUTH The finest of all Conrad's tales, 'Heart of Darkness' is set in an atmosphere of mystery and menace, and tells of Marlow's perilous journey up the Congo River to relieve his employer's agent, the renowned and formidable Mr Kurtz.

What he sees on his journey, and his eventual encounter with Kurtz, horrify and perplex him, and call into question the very bases of civilization and human nature.

Endlessly reinterpreted by critics and adapted for film, radio, and television, the story shows Conrad at his most intense and sophisticated.

The other three tales in this volume depict corruption and obsession, and question racial assumptions. Set in the exotic surroundings of Africa, Malaysia. and the east, they variously appraise the glamour, folly, and rapacity of imperial adventure. This revised edition uses the English first edition texts and has a new chronology and bibliography.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272 pages, one map
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780199536016

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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Quick, someone, lend me a flashlight. I have just finished reading Joseph Conrad’s [Heart of Darkness] and I can’t see for the density of Conrad’s prose. Let me explain.Marlow is a seaman. His current ship, The Nellie, is stranded on the Thames due to the tide and absence of wind. He takes this opportunity to tell his story of his search for the mysterious Mr. Kurtz in the Congo region of Africa to those fortunate enough to be onboard with him. He is appointed to take charge of a steamboat on the Congo. For reasons unclear to me, he traverses the river in search of Mr. Kurtz and while doing so meets with atrocity’s to mankind and multiple ineptitudes on the part of the English attempting to colonize the region. In some respects I found the story similar to [A Passage to India] but without the three dimensional characters. I have no sympathy for Marlow nor Kurtz, there is no anchor at all to cleave me to the story.If Conrad has a story here, and indeed I believe he does, it would have been better related to the reader in another fashion. The Heart is not just Dark in this novella, it is absolutely absent.

Review by

Interesting idea and themes. Form of the novel consistent with themes of darkness/haziness of morals etc. In the end the prose style was just a little annoying for me

Review by

With only 84 pages this is very much a novella, rather than a novel, but into those 84 pages Conrad fits such a lot. There is more to think or argue about in these few pages than in most books that are five times its length or longer...Heart of Darkness starts as a simple traveller's tale as the narrator Marlow relates the story of his travels to take control of a steamship on an unnamed African river (clearly the Congo) working for an unnamed colonial power (clearly Belgium). From his very first days in the territory Marlow hears tales of 'Mr Kurtz', an agent in the most remote district: a remarkable man according to everyone he meets, but the reason for this remarkability remains vague and shadowy. And as Marlow attempts to repair the steamship which he is to captain, which has been badly damaged, the name of Kurtz continues to haunt him as rumours abound of his activities. Marlow finds himself becoming more and more disillusioned with the brutality of the colonists, but as a mission is launched upriver to relieve Mr Kurtz, he discovers more horrors awaiting him as the ship proceeds towards Kurtz's station ...This is a book that has been considered at times as racist, condemned as such particularly by the writer Chinua Achebe. If you extract it from the end of the nineteenth century and drop it down at the beginning of the twenty-first without any consideration of the context in which it was written then it could well be considered racist. The language used and the opinions expressed are not those that would be used today. But I don't think that you can extract a book or a writer from their contexts, and there are clear indications in the text, as well as in Conrad's own life, that show him to have held relatively enlightened opinions and to be intensely opposed to the colonial experience in the Congo on which Heart of Darkness is based.There are so many connections in this book, so many ways in which it could be read, that I can see myself reading it again and again. Highly recommended.

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