Heart of Darkness and Other Stories

Front Cover
Wordsworth Editions, 1995 - Fiction - 219 pages
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Introduction and Notes by Gene M. Moore, Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Generally regarded as the pre-eminent work of Conrad's shorter fiction, Heart of Darkness is a chilling tale of horror which, as the author intended, is capable of many interpretations. Set in the Congo during the period of rapid colonial expansion in the 19th century, the story deals with the highly disturbing effects of economic, social and political exploitation of European and African societies and the cataclysmic behaviour this induced in some individuals.

The other two stories in this book – Youth and The End of the Tether – concern the sea and those who sail upon it, a genre in which Conrad reigns supreme.

 

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Critical Practice
Catherine Belsey
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About the author (1995)

Joseph Conrad is recognized as one of the 20th century's greatest English language novelists. He was born Jozef Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski on December 3, 1857, in the Polish Ukraine. His father, a writer and translator, was from Polish nobility, but political activity against Russian oppression led to his exile. Conrad was orphaned at a young age and subsequently raised by his uncle. At 17 he went to sea, an experience that shaped the bleak view of human nature which he expressed in his fiction. In such works as Lord Jim (1900), Youth (1902), and Nostromo (1904), Conrad depicts individuals thrust by circumstances beyond their control into moral and emotional dilemmas. His novel Heart of Darkness (1902), perhaps his best known and most influential work, narrates a literal journey to the center of the African jungle. This novel inspired the acclaimed motion picture Apocalypse Now. After the publication of his first novel, Almayer's Folly (1895), Conrad gave up the sea. He produced thirteen novels, two volumes of memoirs, and twenty-eight short stories. He died on August 3, 1924, in England.

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