Heart of Darkness

by Joseph Conrad

In Brief

Based on Conrad’s own experience in the Congo, Heart of Darkness is the tale of Marlow, an Englishman hired by an ivory-trading company to captain a steamboat into the heart of darkest Africa. His destination is a post manned by the enigmatic ivory-trader Mr Kurtz, the company’s star agent, whose reputation as an ‘emissary of pity and science and progress’ precedes him. But what Marlow encounters, a thousand miles up the great river, is the embodiment of savagery, corruption and exploitation.

Why you should read it

Heart of Darkness is probably the most widely reprinted short novel in the English language, and one of the most important literary works of the 20th century. Allusive and purposefully elusive, Conrad’s novel remains a deeply troubling work, possessed of a haunting power which remains undiminished even after decades of critical study.

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