Heart of Darkness (Conrad) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
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Heart of Darkness has had an influence that goes beyond the specifically literary. This parable of a man's "heart of darkness" dramatized in the alleged "Dark Continent" of Africa transcended its late Victorian era to acquire the stature of one of the great, if troubling, visionary works of western civilization.
Joyce Carol Oates


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)
A. Michael Matsin - Barnes & Noble Classics




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