Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
Introduction by Caryl Phillips
Commentary by H. L. Mencken, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Lionel Trilling, Chinua Achebe, and Philip Gourevitch
Originally published in 1902, " Heart of Darkness" remains one of this century's most enduring works of fiction. Written several years after Joseph Conrad's grueling sojourn in the Belgian Congo, the novel is a complex meditation on colonialism, evil, and the thin line between civilization and barbarity. This edition contains selections from Conrad's "Congo Diary" of 1890 the first notes, in effect, for the novel, which was composed at the end of that decade. Virginia Woolf wrote of Conrad: His books are full of moments of vision. They light up a whole character in a flash. . . . He could not write badly, one feels, to save his life.
About the Author
Polish author Joseph Conrad is considered to be one of the greatest English-language novelists, a remarkable achievement considering English was not his first language. Conrad s literary works often featured a nautical setting, reflecting the influences of his early career in the Merchant Navy, and his depictions of the struggles of the human spirit in a cold, indifferent world are best exemplified in such seminal works as Heart of Darkness, Lord JimM, The Secret Agent, Nostromo, and Typhoon. Regarded as a forerunner of modernist literature, Conrad s writing style and characters have influenced such distinguished writers as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William S. Burroughs, Hunter S. Thompson, and George Orwell, among many others. Many of Conrad s novels have been adapted for film, most notably Heart of Darkness, which served as the inspiration and foundation for Francis Ford Coppola s 1979 film Apocalypse Now.
Francis E. Low is Institute Professor Emeritus of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With over 40 years in the field, he has lectured and published widely on theoretical and particle physics.
Caryl Phillips is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction including "Dancing in the Dark", "Crossing the River", and "Color Me English". His novel "A Distant Shore "won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and his other awards include a Lannan Foundation Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and Britain's oldest literary award the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in New York.