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Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction, by Joseph Conrad, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics: * New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars * Biographies of the authors * Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events * Footnotes and endnotes * Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work * Comments by other famous authors * Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations * Bibliographies for further reading * Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences-biographical, historical, and literary-to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. One of the most haunting stories ever written, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness follows Marlow, a riverboat captain,
on a voyage into the African Congo at the height of European colonialism. Astounded by the brutal depravity he witnesses, Marlow becomes obsessed with meeting Kurtz, a famously idealistic and able man stationed farther along the river. What he finally discovers, however, is a horror beyond imagining. Heart of Darkness is widely regarded as a masterpiece for its vivid study of human nature and the greed and ruthlessness of imperialism. This collection also includes three of Conrad's finest short stories: "Youth," the author's largely autobiographical tale of a young man's ill-fated sea voyage, in which Marlow makes his first appearance, "The Secret Sharer," and "Amy Forster." Features a map of the Congo Free State. A. Michael Matin is a professor in the English Department of Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. He has published articles on various twentieth-century British and postcolonial writers.
About The Author A. Michael Matin is a professor in the English Department of Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. He has published articles on various twentieth-century British and postcolonial writers.
Biography Joseph Conrad (originally JÃ³zef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. His parents, ardent Polish patriots, died when he was a child, following their exile for anti-Russian activities, and he came under the protection of his tradition-conscious uncle, Thaddeus Bobrowski, who watched over him for the next twenty-five years. In 1874 Bobrowski conceded to his nephew's passionate desire to go to sea, and Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice.
In 1886 he obtained British nationality and his Master's certificate in the British Merchant Service. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he married Jessie George and eventually settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes. He continued to write until his death in 1924. Today Conrad is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of fiction in English -his third language. He once described himself as being concerned "with the ideal value of things, events and people" in the Preface to The Nigger of the Narcissus he defined his task as "by the power of the written word ... before all, to make you see." Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).
Reviews Hesperus Press, as suggested by their Latin motto, Et remotissima prope, is dedicated to bringing near what is farfar both in space and time. Works by illustrious authors, often unjustly neglected or simply little known in the English-speaking world, are made accessible through a completely fresh editorial approach or new translations. Through these short classic works, which feature forewords by leading contemporary authors, the modern reader will be introduced to the greatest writers of Europe and America. An elegantly designed series of exceptional books.
This book does not get the credit it deserves. I think this is partly because most people would not stick through the subtle beginning. This novella offers wonderful insight into the period of imperialism and into the depths of what it does to those involved. It has strong messages and themes that are ever more relevant today. Barnes and Noble offers a great edition of this book - the endnotes really help you to understand the context of the book.
I greatly enjoy classic literature, but this book was too dense to stimulate me. Although the plot/storyline could be excellent, the author writes this book with too much description about extremely minor details that make it difficult to get through. He takes 2+ pages just describing two women knitting. This book is definitely not for younger readers or readers who need excitement.
My English teacher told us near Halloween of 2008, that we had to read a book called Heart of Darkness. He said it would expand out mind and we would feel smarter after reading it. I didn¿t believe him and I didn¿t believe any book could make ME feel smarter. I had already heard from people in my grade that it was boring and hard, yet from my trusty English teacher, I heard it was very good. I started reading the book with a positive attitude and found it quite confusing after the first couple pages. Then, by the end of the first chapter I found myself wanting to read more. I found it to be intriguing how each sentence can be perceived in different ways. As I kept reading the book, I got more and more interested. Joseph Conrad had to be a brilliant man to write a book filled with such meaning and context to each sentence. The book had flashbacks which did confuse me at first but as soon as my wonderful English teacher explained it I understood. I compare Joseph Conrad to Shakespeare, because in Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad had an underlying meaning to his sentences, like Shakespeare did in Romeo and Juliet. This book wasn¿t exactly easy, but it was a challenge and it made me actually use my brain. It made me think about how Conrad wrote the book and how he was feeling while he wrote this. I asked myself all these questions and pondered on what I believe is the main message in this book is. I believe that the main message that he is trying to perceive is that man kind is scared of the unknown and no matter if we are ¿civilized¿ or not we are still animals. The Europeans thought that they needed to ¿civilize¿ the natives because they didn¿t understand technology or Christianity, but really the Europeans were the ones who needed to be civilized. The Europeans were taking land from the natives and taking their ivory at whatever cost. They would kill for money; I don¿t think that¿s very civilized or Christian. I really believe that the message that we are all animals was the main perceived message that Conrad tried to get to his audience. <BR/>I really did enjoy this book and I would recommend it to anybody who wants a challenge. Even if you aren¿t that good at reading I would subject that you read it and if you have any questions to go to a teacher (if you¿re in school) or get Spark Notes, to help you understand some of the difficult parts in the book. It¿s very rewarding and if you are looking for a wonderful intriguing, mind expanding book, then I definitely recommend Heart of Darkness.
Read An Excerpt From A. Michael Matin's Introduction to Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction Heart of Darkness (1899) is one of the most broadly influential works in the history of British literature. The novella's diverse attributes-its rich symbolism, intricate plotting, evocative prose, penetrating psychological insights, broad allusiveness, moral significance, metaphysical suggestiveness-have earned for it the admiration of literary scholars and critics, high school and college teachers, and general readers alike. Further, its impact can be gauged not only by the frequency with which it is read, taught, and written about, but also by its cultural fertility. It has heavily influenced works ranging from T. S. Eliot's landmark poem The Waste Land (1922), the manuscript of which has as its original epigraph a passage from the book that concludes with the last words of Conrad's antihero Kurtz, to Barbara Kingsolver's novel The Poisonwood Bible (1998), which updates the tale to the years shortly before and after independence, when the Belgian Congo became the nation that is known today as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nor has its artistic influence been limited to literature; to cite only the most famous instance, it served as the
basis for Francis Ford Coppola's film Apocalypse Now (1979), which transposes the story, in both place and time, to Vietnam and Cambodia during the American-Vietnamese War and recasts Kurtz as a renegade American colonel. Its various homages aside, in its original form Heart of Darkness has for several generations influenced the literary and moral outlook of innumerable readers. Yet while the text is widely recognized as an indictment of the greed and ruthlessness that generally drove European imperialism in Africa, most readers are unfamiliar with the fact that the setting is the event in imperial history so uniquely horrific in its sheer scale of suffering and death that it has been termed the African Holocaust. As Conrad himself would characterize the situation in the Congo nearly a quarter of a century after his novella was published, it was "the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience" ("Geography and Some Explorers," p. 17). Set during the era of heightened competition for imperial territories that historians have termed the New Imperialism, Heart of Darkness is loosely based on Conrad's experiences and observations during a six-month stint, in 1890, in the Congo as an employee of a Belgian company, the SociÃ©tÃ© Anonyme Belge pour le Commerce du Haut-Congo. This was five years after the 1884-1885 Berlin Conference, a meeting of representatives of the European powers to establish the terms according to which much of the continent of Africa would be divided among them. During this meeting, King Leopold II of Belgium, skillfully playing the jealousies and fears of rival powers off one another, astonishingly managed to secure as his own personal property over 900,000 square miles of central Africa-that is, a territory roughly seventy-five times the size of the diminutive country he ruled. Under humanitarian pretenses, Leopold's agents, who had begun the process of conquest several years earlier, effectively turned the so-called Congo Free State into an enormous forced labor camp for the extraction of ivory and, later, after the worldwide rubber boom in the early 1890s following the popularization of the pneumatic tire, rubber. In addition to outright murders, the slave labor conditions led to many deaths from starvation and disease as well as a steeply declining birth rate. Even during an era in which most Europeans viewed imperialism as legitimate, the appalling circumstances of Leopold's Congo (it would officially become a Belgian colony in 1908, and Leopold would die the following year never having so much as visited the territory) led to international outrage. Conservative demographic estimates place the region's depopulation toll between 1880 and 1920 at 10 million people-that is, half of the total population-with the worst of the carnage occurring between 1890 and 1910. Not much was known outside Africa about the conditions of Leopold's rule when Conrad was there, but in the several years before he began writing Heart of Darkness, in 1898, it became an international scandal, and regular reports appeared in the British and European press denouncing the abuses. Even before the publicity and protests, however (which would peak several years after the novella's publication), Conrad had seen enough on his own to be thoroughly disgusted.
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