Heart of Darkness pdf by Joseph Conrad Download, Summary, Characters

Heart of Darkness by Joseph conrad (1899) is a novella by Polish English novelist Joseph Conrad. It tells the story of Charles Marlow, a sailor who takes on an assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in the African interior. The novel is widely regarded as a critique of European colonial rule in Africa, whilst also examining the themes of power dynamics and morality. Although Conrad does not name the river where the narrative takes place, at the time of writing the Congo Free State, the location of the large and economically important Congo River, was a private colony of Belgium’s King Leopold II. In this article you will be able to download Heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad as well as do the following

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  • Learn about the author Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  • Learn vital information about the book Heart of Darkness
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Summary of Heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. It is widely regarded as a significant work of English literature and part of the Western canon. The story tells of Charles Marlow, an Englishman who took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the myth behind colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters–the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the European’s cruel treatment of the natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil. Although Conrad does not give the name of the river, at the time of writing the Congo Free State, the location of the large and important Congo River, was a private colony of Belgium’s King Leopold II. Marlow is employed to transport ivory downriver. However, his more pressing assignment is to return Kurtz, another ivory trader, to civilization, in a cover-up. Kurtz has a reputation throughout the region. This symbolic story is a story within a story or frame narrative. It follows Marlow as he recounts from dusk through to late night, to a group of men aboard a ship anchored in the Thames Estuary his Congolese adventure. The passage of time and the darkening sky during the fictitious narrative-within-the-narrative parallel the atmosphere of the story.

About the author Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

Polish author Joseph Conrad is considered to be one of the greatest English-language novelists, a remarkable achievement considering English was not his first language. Conrad s literary works often featured a nautical setting, reflecting the influences of his early career in the Merchant Navy, and his depictions of the struggles of the human spirit in a cold, indifferent world are best exemplified in such seminal works as Heart of Darkness, Lord JimM, The Secret Agent, Nostromo, and Typhoon. Regarded as a forerunner of modernist literature, Conrad s writing style and characters have influenced such distinguished writers as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, and George Orwell, among many others. Many of Conrad s novels have been adapted for film, most notably Heart of Darkness, which served as the inspiration and foundation for Francis Ford Coppola s 1979 film Apocalypse Now.

Heart of darkness by Joseph conrad
Heart of darkness by Joseph conrad

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Major characters in Heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad

Marlow

The protagonist of Heart of Darkness. Marlow is philosophical, independent-minded, and generally skeptical of those around him. He is also a master storyteller, eloquent and able to draw his listeners into his tale. Although Marlow shares many of his fellow Europeans’ prejudices, he has seen enough of the world and has encountered enough debased white men to make him skeptical of imperialism.

Kurtz

The chief of the Inner Station and the object of Marlow’s quest. Kurtz is a man of many talents—we learn, among other things, that he is a gifted musician and a fine painter—the chief of which are his charisma and his ability to lead men. Kurtz is a man who understands the power of words, and his writings are marked by an eloquence that obscures their horrifying message. Although he remains an enigma even to Marlow, Kurtz clearly exerts a powerful influence on the people in his life. His downfall seems to be a result of his willingness to ignore the hypocritical rules that govern European colonial conduct: Kurtz has “kicked himself loose of the earth” by fraternizing excessively with the natives and not keeping up appearances; in so doing, he has become wildly successful but has also incurred the wrath of his fellow white men.

General manager

The chief agent of the Company in its African territory, who runs the Central Station. He owes his success to a hardy constitution that allows him to outlive all his competitors. He is average in appearance and unremarkable in abilities, but he possesses a strange capacity to produce uneasiness in those around him, keeping everyone sufficiently unsettled for him to exert his control over them.

Brickmaker

The brickmaker, whom Marlow also meets at the Central Station, is a favorite of the manager and seems to be a kind of corporate spy. He never actually produces any bricks, as he is supposedly waiting for some essential element that is never delivered. He is petty and conniving and assumes that other people are too.

Chief accountant

An efficient worker with an incredible habit of dressing up in spotless whites and keeping himself absolutely tidy despite the squalor and heat of the Outer Station, where he lives and works. He is one of the few colonials who seems to have accomplished anything: he has trained a native woman to care for his wardrobe.

Pilgrims

The bumbling, greedy agents of the Central Station. They carry long wooden staves with them everywhere, reminding Marlow of traditional religious travelers. They all want to be appointed to a station so that they can trade for ivory and earn a commission, but none of them actually takes any effective steps toward achieving this goal. They are obsessed with keeping up a veneer of civilization and proper conduct, and are motivated entirely by self-interest. They hate the natives and treat them like animals, although in their greed and ridiculousness they appear less than human themselves.

Where to buy Heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad online

You can easily buy the paperback version of heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad from the following sites

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Editorial reviews and praise for the book

“Goonetilleke’s edition does much to restore the context [in which Conrad was writing] and begins with a helpful summary of Congo history. The edition contains excerpts from some of the best writers in English on conditions in the Congo Free State.” (The Times Literary Supplement )

“This edition offers a bold and intelligent introduction to the book’s aesthetic and philosophical challenges, gives an excitingly useful chronology of the Congo with excerpts from Congo exploration literature, and deftly anticipates issues that discussion of the text will raise.” (David Leon Higdon Conradiana )

“Evenhanded…it connects Conrad palpably to the European colonization of the continent.” (Harper’s Magazine )

“[This edition is] far better than anything else on the market today.” –Craig Keating

“Goonetilleke’s edition does much to restore the context [in which Conrad was writing] and begins with a helpful summary of Congo history. The edition contains excerpts from some of the best writers in English on conditions in the Congo Free State.” (The Times Literary Supplement )

“This edition offers a bold and intelligent introduction to the book’s aesthetic and philosophical challenges, gives an excitingly useful chronology of the Congo with excerpts from Congo exploration literature, and deftly anticipates issues that discussion of the text will raise.” (David Leon Higdon Conradiana )

“Evenhanded…it connects Conrad palpably to the European colonization of the continent.” (Harper’s Magazine )

“[This edition is] far better than anything else on the market today.” (Craig Keating ) –Craig Keating

“Goonetilleke’s edition does much to restore the context [in which Conrad was writing] and begins with a helpful summary of Congo history. The edition contains excerpts from some of the best writers in English on conditions in the Congo Free State.” (The Times Literary Supplement )

“This edition offers a bold and intelligent introduction to the book’s aesthetic and philosophical challenges, gives an excitingly useful chronology of the Congo with excerpts from Congo exploration literature, and deftly anticipates issues that discussion of the text will raise.” (David Leon Higdon Conradiana )

“Evenhanded…it connects Conrad palpably to the European colonization of the continent.” (Harper’s Magazine )

“[This edition is] far better than anything else on the market today.” (Craig Keating ) –Craig Keating

“Goonetilleke’s edition does much to restore the context [in which Conrad was writing] and begins with a helpful summary of Congo history. The edition contains excerpts from some of the best writers in English on conditions in the Congo Free State.” (The Times Literary Supplement )

“This edition offers a bold and intelligent introduction to the book’s aesthetic and philosophical challenges, gives an excitingly useful chronology of the Congo with excerpts from Congo exploration literature, and deftly anticipates issues that discussion of the text will raise.” (David Leon Higdon Conradiana )

“Evenhanded…it connects Conrad palpably to the European colonization of the continent.” (Harper’s Magazine )

“[This edition is] far better than anything else on the market today.” (Craig Keating ) –Craig Keating

“Goonetilleke’s edition does much to restore the context [in which Conrad was writing] and begins with a helpful summary of Congo history. The edition contains excerpts from some of the best writers in English on conditions in the Congo Free State.” (The Times Literary Supplement )

“This edition offers a bold and intelligent introduction to the book’s aesthetic and philosophical challenges, gives an excitingly useful chronology of the Congo with excerpts from Congo exploration literature, and deftly anticipates issues that discussion of the text will raise.” (David Leon Higdon Conradiana )

“Evenhanded…it connects Conrad palpably to the European colonization of the continent.” (Harper’s Magazine )

“[This edition is] far better than anything else on the market today.” (Craig Keating ) –Craig Keating

Reviews from customers on barnes and noble

tay_landers

5 out of 5 stars.

7 years ago  

Conrad¿S Novel, Heart Of Darkness Was Very Interesting. I Thorou

Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness was very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, though some parts were very difficult to understand without the help of others. Conrad chose the decision to make the reader the narrator of the story. This decision made it able for the reader to connect to the characters and their journey. Throughout the book, many literary devices were used.
For example, symbolism was used in the entire novel. For example, greed and darkness was portrayed as the character, Kurtz. Also, Mother Nature was transformed into and immortal African woman, and the darkness in the book symbolized evil, just as the light symbolized the good. Another major device used was flashback. The majority of the book was a flashback narrated by Marlow, while he was on a ship drifting into darkness. This was confusing at times, because depicting the flashbacks from the main plot was difficult.
Overall, Marlow’s journey into the heart of Africa was told in a very unique perspective. This is definitely a book that will make you think, seeing all of the underlined meanings. It was a very intriguing novel through the use of Conrad’s literary elements and the portrayal of good and evil within the characters. The book was a very dense and challenging 72 pages to comprehend. Though it was challenging, I would recommend the book. It’s a brain teaser, but it was definitely worth the confusion, once Conrad’s true intent was shown through the characters and literary elements used.

stephanie-mayle

5 out of 5 stars.

7 years ago  

The Scope Of Classic Literature Can Be A Very Difficult World To

The scope of classic literature can be a very difficult world to explore.  Around every corner is a rhetorical device, behind every tree is symbolism, and each step reveals a new dimension to the plot line.  It is easy to get lost, to confuse yourself in the words and overlook the true meaning behind them.  Classic literature can be intimidating, and the novel, Heart of Darkness, is that tenfold.
Joseph Conrad’s best-selling novel encompasses almost every rhetorical element that can be imagined.  Metaphor is one that stands out particularly well.  As noted before, the mark of a great piece of literature often is the use of symbolism in objects, characters, settings, etc.  It is in this that Conrad excels above all others.  He personalizes Mother Nature into an immortal African woman, the evil into the dark, good into the light, and the greed of human nature into the character of Kurtz.  These extended metaphors throughout the novel add a whole new analytical level to the story.  The book is transformed from one man’s African journey to a war between good and evil, and a mystery of who is on who’s side.
Conrad also very obviously, and at the same time very subtly, uses flashback.  The majority of the book is a whole flashback narrated by Marlow while on a boat with some friends waiting for the tide to change.  Through this extended monologue, the reader can often forget that there is a plot on the outside of the main plot.  This is yet another example of Conrad’s genius.  By modeling his novel after a matryoshka doll, with each story fitting into another, he adds to the overall complexity of the book and creates a plot unparalleled by any others.
Juxtaposition is also often referred to throughout Conrad’s novel.  His adjectives often oppose each other–light and dark, innocent and guilty, hidden and obvious–and create a clash of ideals that promote the reader to critically think.  By doing this, Conrad adds to his story of a world torn between two sides, and the struggles humanity faces because of it.  Each contrast allows the strength of the word to be multiplied, and adds to the depth of the plot as a whole.
Overall, reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a decision one won’t regret.  His words shape the English language into phrases that mean nothing and everything simultaneously, and allow a reader to truly create their own interpretations.  I highly recommend this novel to anyone willing to further their own literary consciousness and who appreciates the transformation of simple letters from words into meanings.  As Conrad says, “that which makes its truth, its meaning–its subtle and penetrating essence.”

Josh_Biggs

5 out of 5 stars.

7 years ago  

I Thoroughly Enjoyed Reading Conrad Heart Of Darkness. Conrad

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Conrad’s decision to include the reader as a character listening to Marlow’s story first hand was a bold and smart move. Through this decision, Conrad really brought the reader into the story which made it a more enjoyable experience. Conrad’s random switch from present to past time (vice versa) throughout the book was also a unique attribute. Although it could be a bit difficult to fully follow, this helped the reader become more involved in the story, where they were actually sitting there listening to Marlow tell of his adventurous journey into the heart of Africa. Conrad’s use of symbolism to symbolize Kurtz as being the darkness was a brilliant literary move. With using a character, Kurtz, who is at first not well known but further explained and identified as Marlow moves through the congo really captures the essence of the darkness, otherwise known as imperialism and the conquering of Africa for wealth. Conrad implements an unphased and harsh tone towards the horrors and thoughts Marlow faced/overcame, for example towards the beginning of the book Marlow discusses the Eldorado Expedition for gold. Here he explains what happened to the majority of the animals that died but he doesn’t know what happened to the ¨less valuable¨ animals. These ¨less valuable¨ animals turn out to be human beings. This is a very stark and harsh tone, especially because it is also being told of from a sailor, like those on the Eldorado Expedition. 
I recommend that all students read this book when they get the chance, especially if you are in an AP or upper level class. However, the book is very dense in content and it is difficult to understand everything going on. One should stop frequently throughout the book and make sure they understand and comprehend what is going on. If this is being done for a project, the movie with same title does not depict the story as Conrad would have wanted it to be done. With a lacking central theme and distinct alterations to the plot, I would not recommend watching the movie, especially before reading the book! In conclusion, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was a very entertaining book with many rhetorical and literary devices that help the reader drastically improve their reading skills.

Customer reviews on Amazon for heart of darkness by Joseph Conrad

Kindle Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars Historically accurate

Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2018

Verified Purchase

The title says it all. It’s a very dark look at how humans can rationalize anything, but still struggle with their buried consciences. It’s quite sobering to realize that all of the atrocities Conrad describes in HOD really occurred – he witnessed them when he was a steamboat captain in the Belgian Congo.

I actually got the idea to read this book while I was reading King Leopold’s Ghost, which is a historical account of his (he was The king of Belgium) formation and rule over the Belgian Congo colony. In this book, it was explained how Joseph Conrad witnessed and corroborated the widespread atrocities the Belgian (and other European and American commissioners) committed on a routine basis. For me, that gave this book added impact – but it’s also interesting to note that this story was used as the basic storyline for the film Apocalypse Now. Same scary trip up a river, even the name of the commissioner to be brought back by the boat captain was the same: Mr. Kurtz instead of Colonel Kurtz. All that aside, HOD is a very dark look into the human psyche and worth reading on that basis alone. The fact that Conrad basically just described what he had himself witnessed certainly raises the importance of this book a hundredfold.

Alex Bush

5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal, dry, refreshing, moving. I book you’ll remember forever, but only want to read 2-3 pages of at a time.

Reviewed in the United States on May 25, 2017

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Like most of “Great” novels of the 18th century that I’ve braved opening, I found Heart of Darkness to be both exhilaratingly badass and desperately dry and boring. If you’re used to breezing through novels in a week or two, expect to slow your pace significantly. If it’s true that some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested, HoD is some prime beef jerky: delicious and infuriatingly slow to masticate.

Forget the whole “50 pages a night before bed” deal, I had to push myself to get through 2-3 pages a night (and then I slept like a baby). However, in return I was rewarded with one of the most epic, dark, and rewarding stories I’ve ever encountered, and two of my all-time favorite literary passages:

“I don’t like work–no man does–but I like what is in the work–the chance to find yourself. Your own reality–for yourself not for others–what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.”

“Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overschadowed distances. […] And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.” I come from a very liberal area, where sentiments like needing to love your work and the inherently peaceful goodness of nature are accepted without too much questioning, so I found these two passages to be both brutally and blessedly refreshing. The quote about no man liking to work is something that I try to remember every day and have found both realistic and fortifying for the grind.

PS. I’d be remiss if I went through a review of Heart of Darkness without mentioning Apocalypse Now, one of my favorite movies of all time, and nearly as exhausting as the book (if such a thing were possible). I’m not sure if I’d love the book as much as I do if I hadn’t seen Apocalypse Now first. Make sure to watch it if you’re thinking about reading HoD, you’ll thank me later.

BumblebeeBailey

5.0 out of 5 stars A Brief, Very Brief, Description WITHOUT Spoilers.

Reviewed in the United States on May 10, 2015

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For everyone that is not familiar with this classic you may know the adaptation into film, Apocalypse Now. Originally published in 1902 as a novella Conrad uses the story as a critique of imperialism. “Heart of Darkness” can either be read as an adventure story of a young man’s exploits in a foreign mysterious continent or a physiological thriller of another man’s descent into madness.
The majority of the story is told by a seaman as he sits aboard a yawl moored in the river Thames. The foundation of the novella is an European employer has hired Marlow to find rogue ivory trader Mr Kurtz who has absconded into the jungle with the company’s money and ivory. Marlow begins the story naive and idealistic yet as he ventures deeper and deeper down the unnamed river into the continent he begins to suspect that corruption and madness has overcome Kurtz. Kurtz himself is not seen until later in he story but the foreshadowing of his introduction builds the suspense and climaxes with Marlow’s decision to indeed bring Kurtz out of the jungle.
Although a much deeper plot synopsis could be given and spoilers included, I believe the reader will enjoy discovering the poety like prose of Conrad’s novella themselves. Readers for generations have enjoyed, contemplated and been fascinated with the imagery and story of “Heart of Darkness”.

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