Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)

Heart of Darkness is one of the more controversial classics, its politics hotly debated, particularly in the wake of Chinua Achebe's scathing condemnation. The book is a complicated beast and I'm not sure where I stand on the debate, insofar as the book's politics are concerned, since it is dangerous to search for Conrad's own opinions and intentions in narration that comes to us filtered doubly (through Marlow and a nameless narrator). Nonetheless, Heart of Darkness is a stunning aesthetic achievement and a true classic in that sense. Unrelenting and intense, there is a dark, visceral power in this book that puts its contemporaries to shame.

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Jonathan Ball is a writer, filmmaker, and scholar living at www.jonathanball.com.

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