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Heart of Darkness
By Joseph Conrad

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Heart of Darkness

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Heart of Darkness
Large Print Edition
By Joseph Conrad
Dover Large Print Classics, (2001)
ISBN: 0-486-41934-7
Genre: Fiction, English Literature

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - July 19, 2002

Heart of Darkness is a pessimistic tale about a mysterious man named Mr. Kurtz. Narrated by another enigma called Marlow, this haunting story is allegoric in nature. It describes the impact of the "white man's" invasion and colonization of Africa, both from the standpoint of the natives, and from that of the invaders. This impact is illustrated in the Heart of Darkness by the fact that Mr. Kurtz, a white trader, who has been horribly corrupted by the power that he is able to wield over the locals. A fact which, not surprisingly, turns out ill for all involved.

Heart of Darkness is based upon Joseph Conrad's own forays into Africa, and it presents some compelling insights in the psychological nature of those 'whites' who ventured into what they deemed as an untamed, and deadly, wilderness. This book was first published in 1902. The Dover large print edition of this book is an unabridge republication of the orginial standard edition.

Born in the Ukraine, Conrad was originally named Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. Orphaned as a young boy, he followed his dream of going to sea and spent many years working as a sailor, first on French ships, and then later on English owned ships. Conrad became a British citizen in 1886, which may be when he officially took the name Joseph Conrad. A prolific writer, all of Conrad's books are semi-autobiographical as they are all based upon his personal experiences, and Heart of Darkness is no exception to this rule.

Conrad, who died in 1924, was an amazing gifted writer whose prose is wonderfully rich and detailed. However, the stories that he writes can be a bit on the depressing side, and I therefore cannot recommend any of his works as 'light reading'. This aside, Heart of Darkness is a classic, and the emotions and sights portrayed in this work are so palpable that you can almost feel them, and see and smell the sights that Conrad describes in this haunting book.


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