Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad’s enduring portrait of the ugliness of colonialism in a deluxe edition with a gripping cover by Hellboy artist Mike Mignola
Heart of Darkness is the thrilling tale of Marlow, a seaman and wanderer recounting his physical and psychological journey in search of the infamous ivory trader Kurtz. Traveling upriver into the heart of the African continent, he gradually becomes obsessed by this enigmatic, wraith-like figure. Marlow’s discovery of how Kurtz has gained his position of power over the local people involves him in a radical questioning, not only of his own nature and values, but of those that underpin Western civilization itself.
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Although Polish by birth, Joseph Conrad (18571924) is regarded as one of the greatest writers in English, andHeart of Darkness, first published in 1902, is considered by many his “most famous, finest, and most enigmatic story.”Encyclopaedia Britannica. The tale concerns the journey of the narrator (Marlow) up the Congo River on behalf of a Belgian trading company. Far upriver, he encounters the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory trader who exercises an almost godlike sway over the inhabitants of the region. Both repelled and fascinated by the man, Marlow is brought face to face with the corruption and despair that Conrad saw at the heart of human existence.
In its combination of narrative and symbolic power, masterly character study and acute psychological penetration,Heart of Darkness ranks as a landmark of modern fiction. It is a book no serious student of literature can afford to miss.
Joseph Conrad was born in Berdichev, Ukraine, in 1857. After both of his parents died of tuberculosis, Conrad went to live with his uncle in Switzerland. After attending school in Kraków, he joined the French and then the British merchant marines, sailing to exotic destinations like the West Indies and the Congo, which would later become the backdrops for some of his fiction. In 1894 he settled down in England and began his literary career. In 1902 Conrad published his most famous work, Heart of Darkness, and continued to write until his death in 1924.
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