Heart of Darkness, Joseph ConradThey were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force – nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind – as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it much.

This is the story of narrator Marlow’s trip to Africa, to the Belgian Congo, to act as a steamboat captain on the river Congo. He tells a dark story of the power of the wilderness, symbolised by the “remarkable man”, Mr Kurtz. Kurtz has been living in the jungle among the natives and in addition to collecting more ivory than any other company agent, seems to have gathered about him some sort of dark and frightening power of his own, some hold over the native people, some horrifying spell – and he is wasting away with it, in every respect: physically, morally and spiritually.

At the start you are warned that this is the story of an “inconclusive experience”, and that is certainly what this is. There is no real resolution – only a journey, and a mystery that remains unsolved even to the end, with an underlying message that seeks to expose not only the rotten underbelly of conquest generally but also the specific madness of Europeans trying to “enlighten” the darkness of the African jungle.

Here’s an Amazon link
My copy was from the library.

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