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Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Editions)…
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Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Editions) (original 1902; udgave 2005)

af Joseph Conrad (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3,158224,328 (3.75)17
"Heart of Darkness follows the story of Charlie Marlow's time working on the Congo River. In his attempts to aid Mr. Kurtz, the chief of the Inner Station, Marlow is confronted with the cruel realities of European imperialism in Africa. This Norton Critical Edition is based on the 1902 English first book publication. The text comes paired with eplanatory footnotes, illustrations and photographs, and an introduction by the editor. "Backgrounds and Contexts" explores the wide range of historical attitudes that influenced the text, including essays on imperialism and the Congo, Nineteenth-Century Attitudes Toward Race, Conrad in the Congo, and The Author on Art and Literature. "Criticism" examines a wide range of critical responses to the novella, which span from Conrad's peers up until the twenty-first century. Essays from Chinua Achebe, Jeremy Hawthorn, Hunt Hawkins, Ian Watts, J. Hillis Miller, and others have been carried over from the previous edition. These classic essays are further supported by new material from Benita Parry, Susan Jones, Richard J. Ruppel, Adriana Cavarero, Jeffrey Mathes McCarthy, Urmila Seshagirl, and Nidesh Lawtoo. The collection of essays on film adaptations of the novella has been completely revised to include essays by Robert L. Carringer, Seymour Chatman, and Pamela Demory. A Chronology and revised Selected Bibliography are also included."--… (mere)
Medlem:teenybeanie25
Titel:Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Editions)
Forfattere:Joseph Conrad (Forfatter)
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2005), Edition: 4th, 544 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek, Skal læses, Read not audio, Read again
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Heart of Darkness [Norton Critical Edition] af Joseph Conrad (1902)

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We begin with two rivers of contradiction, the Thames and the Congo. Marlow's journey begins and ends on the Thames.
After reading Heart of Darkness did you ask yourself, "what is the definition of civilized?" I know I did.
Also, I found myself paying attention to light and dark imagery throughout Heart of Darkness. There were contradiction of light and darkness - the sun setting versus the lighthouse's beam and the glare of the stars. Light needs the dark in order to be its brightest. Night falling has an impact on people and places. All in all, the plot was slow and plodding. I kept waiting for something drastic to happen because I knew the horror could jump out and gnash its teeth any second. The pages leading up to the grand finale seemed nothing more than a vain attempt to rattle the nerves.
I know many people who couldn't stand Heart of Darkness, but I have to offer this as an alternative. Why? Why is it so hated? I can remember reading a book about a woman working up the courage to commit suicide. I cared to little for the character that by the end of the book I was wishing she would just get it over with! I wanted her kill herself. Instead of saying I hated the book because I wanted the main character dead, I applauded the author. The power of the writing forced me to feel that strongly about a character. Maybe, just maybe, Conrad was forcing his audience to hate much in the same way. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Apr 23, 2023 |
If ever a book of Novella length (77 pages) deserves the Norton Critical Edition treatment it is Heart of Darkness. The book runs to over 500 pages and my second hand edition was full of post-it notes in nine different colours. There is no evidence who the literature student was who posted all the notes and so when I removed them all I had a perfectly clean copy. It was no longer clean when I had finished it, but I did use a pencil (a stadilo pencil 160 coming from the Czech Republic).

My last review of an English language book was the penguin edition of Heart of Darkness and LolaWalser (of course) posted a comment recommending that I look for criticism of the book by African Writers as white people are constantly finding excuses for Conrad's strident racism. The norton critical edition has Achebe's essay: An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but all the other critical essays are from white authors, some of whom do address Achebe's concerns. In fact J. Hillis Miller asks the question 'Should we read "Heart of Darkness"

"Heart of Darkness has often received a heavy sentence from its critics. It has been condemned often in angry terms, as racist or sexist, sometimes in the same essay as both.................Nevertheless, according to the paradox I have already mentioned, you could only be sure about this by reading the novella yourself, therefore putting yourself, if these critics are right, in danger of becoming sexist, racist, and Eurocentric yourself.

Chinua Achebe says:
The real question is the dehumanisation of Africa and Africans, which this age long attitude has fostered and continues to foster in this world. And the question is whether a novel which celebrates this dehumanisation, which depersonalises a portion of the human race, can be called a great work of art. My answer is: No, it cannot...........................Whatever Conrad's problems were, you might say he is safely dead. Quite true. Unfortunately his heart of darkness plagues us still. Which is why an offensive and deplorable book can be described by a serious scholar as "among the half dozen greatest short story novels in the English language." And why it is today perhaps the most commonly prescribed novel in twentieth-century literature courses in English Departments of American Universities.

Achebe originally called Conrad a bloody racist, but toned this down in a later revision as a thoroughgoing racist. He says:

Conrad saw and condemned the evil of imperial exploitation, but was strangely unaware of the racism on which it sharpened its iron tooth.

In my opinion, the dichotomy of the book is that from a late 20th century perspective Achebe was correct in everything he says, however Conrad was writing his novel in 1902 some seventy years earlier, when the term racism had not even been invented. By all accounts he was conservative in his outlook, but this did not stop from him being horrified by what he saw and publishing a novel which at the time expressed liberal views. Paul B Armstrong says:

This conflict is only the latest chapter in a long history of disagreement about whether to regard 'Heart of Darkness" as a daring attack on imperialism or a reactionary purveyor of colonial stereotypes.

So we come back to the question of whether we should read this book. Speaking for myself I would want to read and re-read a book that has caused so much controversy. Being a white male I could not be personally offended by Conrads depiction of African natives, and although recognising it as racist from a contemporary viewpoint I am in a position to understand Conrad's viewpoint which reflects the culture and attitudes of his times. I do also of course understand why some people would choose not to read it.

The Norton Critical edition includes textual variants to the original novella and there are over 100 pages devoted to Backgrounds and Contents, which deal with Imperialism and the Belgian Congo and there is a section on 19th century attitudes towards race. Conrad and the Congo describes Conrad's own travels down the river by excerpts from his diary and selected letters. There is 200 pages of criticism ranging from contemporary responses to essays comparing themes in Hearts of Darkness to the film Apocalypse Now. It does lack criticism from black writers (only Achebe's essay is featured), but there is enough to enjoy and perhaps study Conrad's novella. 5 stars. ( )
  baswood | Oct 22, 2022 |
Having read "King Leopold's Ghost," I wanted to finally read "Heart of Darkness." Flawed in some obvious ways, but short enough that I can't mind too much.

> Droll thing life is—that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself—that comes too late—a crop of unextinguishable regrets.

> I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror—of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath: "The horror! The horror!" … I was within a hair's breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say. This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it. Since I had peeped over the edge myself, I understand better the meaning of his stare, that could not see the flame of the candle, but was wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness. He had summed up—he had judged. "The horror!" ( )
  breic | Sep 14, 2019 |
Classic tale of colonialism and the descent of man into savagery ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness takes readers on a journey up the Congo River and into the middle of a postcolonial wrangle. One of the things at odds in this book is the European thought process of what is considered civilized versus what is uncivilized. The colonizers, also known as the cultured and proper Europeans, exist is a world where the African people and culture that they have colonized is understood only in negative terms. The light and dark imagery, and white versus black race illustrations that Conrad presents depict a clear division of power and control. The white colonizers hold all the power while the black “creatures” (Conrad 17) are beaten and starved into submission by their handlers.

Some readers might believe, because of the nature of repetition in literature, that the differences between East and West are as plain as Conrad describes, the savage in contrast to the cultivated. Others might look back on history and see the dampening of the African culture as necessary for civilized advancements instead of dishonorable and inhuman. Still others might agree with the treatment of the marginalized in this book as necessary for the greater good. A close read of Heart of Darkness might also expose another meaning to Marlow’s account of that trip up river. Perhaps Conrad wants the reader to question the validity of imperialism. Noorbakhsh Hooti and Masoud Mousaabad posit this and suggest that Conrad’s use of irony “leaves something unveiled…for the reader which does not necessarily go with the positive side of imperialism, but tries to help the reader to unveil the reality of imperialistic practices” (63). An example can be found in Chapter 1 as Marlow waits in the Station. “Strings of dusty niggers with splay feet arrived and departed; a stream of manufactured goods, rubbishy cottons, beads, and brass-wire set into the depths of darkness, and in return came a precious trickle of ivory” (Conrad 18), indicating that the primary concern, the primary goal, is to obtain more ivory even when the trade is for human beings here described as something below mankind. Here Conrad unveils the domination of a people in the name of colonization.

Conrad also uses the environment of the Congo to present a dark image of Africa that reflects back upon the actions of the colonizers. From Marlow’s first encounter with the Station that he describes as a “scene of inhabited devastation” (15) to the dark wilderness he experiences as he travels up river, never is there a period of calm or order that might be associated with European civilization. The environment Conrad describes is in exact disagreement with a civilized society. “It manifests as an unrestrained savagery which by its very nature threatens as a massive presence that will block the imposition of civilized order” (Brown). The darkness seems to deepen and the environment appears to envelope anyone or anything that attempts to change it. Because Marlow tells this story as he sits on the Thames River readers can surmise the similarities between the Congo and the Thames, and on a greater level Europe and Africa.

So what is one to think of Conrad after reading Heart of Darkness? Is he a racist and pro-imperialism or does he tell his story through Marlow in an attempt to expose the injustices of this system of dominance. Michael Lackey points out that if it can be “shown that Marlow is a racist, then we can conclude that Conrad is a racist” (1), because the two speak as one throughout the novel. Marlow is never at ease though with the events that unfold on his journey, perhaps callous and indifferent but never really okay with his surroundings. Marlow’s restlessness and dwindling enthusiasm show that he is as trapped and disempowered as the oppressed African’s of the Congo. ( )
  BadCursive | Feb 10, 2014 |
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"Heart of Darkness follows the story of Charlie Marlow's time working on the Congo River. In his attempts to aid Mr. Kurtz, the chief of the Inner Station, Marlow is confronted with the cruel realities of European imperialism in Africa. This Norton Critical Edition is based on the 1902 English first book publication. The text comes paired with eplanatory footnotes, illustrations and photographs, and an introduction by the editor. "Backgrounds and Contexts" explores the wide range of historical attitudes that influenced the text, including essays on imperialism and the Congo, Nineteenth-Century Attitudes Toward Race, Conrad in the Congo, and The Author on Art and Literature. "Criticism" examines a wide range of critical responses to the novella, which span from Conrad's peers up until the twenty-first century. Essays from Chinua Achebe, Jeremy Hawthorn, Hunt Hawkins, Ian Watts, J. Hillis Miller, and others have been carried over from the previous edition. These classic essays are further supported by new material from Benita Parry, Susan Jones, Richard J. Ruppel, Adriana Cavarero, Jeffrey Mathes McCarthy, Urmila Seshagirl, and Nidesh Lawtoo. The collection of essays on film adaptations of the novella has been completely revised to include essays by Robert L. Carringer, Seymour Chatman, and Pamela Demory. A Chronology and revised Selected Bibliography are also included."--

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