Sunday, 14 September 2014

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad's He<a href=BlurbAt the peak of European Imperialism, steamboat captain Charles Marlow travels deep into the African Congo on his way to relieve the elusive Mr Kurtz, an ivory trader renowned for his fearsome reputation. On his journey into the unknown Marlow takes a terrifying trip into his own subconscious, overwhelmed by his menacing, perilous and horrifying surroundings.

The landscape and the people he meets force him to reflect on human nature and society, and in turn Conrad writes revealingly about the dangers of imperialism.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this. The atmosphere that surrounds the tale is incredible. The story unfolds through the haze of Marlow's memory - but at the same time Conrad creates an incredibly vivid sensory world. As he himself said, "My task is to make you hear, to make you feel -- it is, before all, to make you see."

 It is an oddly hard read, which at first I wasn't sure if was due to English not being his first language (he had no knowledge of the language at the age of 20) or an intention towards disturbance and disorientation. On reflection I think it is definitely the latter. In either case, the often unconventional use of lexis is both incredibly powerful and disturbing. 

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