'The mind of man is capable of anything - because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, rage - who can tell? - but truth - truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder - the man knows, and can look on without a wink.'
Marlow, a seaman, tells of a journey up the Congo. His goal is the troubled European and ivory trader Kurtz. Worshipped and feared by invaders as well as natives, Kurtz has become a godlike figure, his presence pervading the jungle like a thick, obscuring mist. As his boat labours further upstream, closer and closer to Kurtz's extraordinary and terrible domain, so Marlow finds his faith in himself and civilization crumbling. Conrad's Heart of Darkness has been considered the most important indictment of the evils of imperialism written to date.
Goonetilleke's edition does much to restore the context [in which Conrad was writing] and begins with a helpful summary of Congo history. The edition contains excerpts from some of the best writers in English on conditions in the Congo Free State. - The Times Literary Supplement This edition offers a bold and intelligent introduction to the book's aesthetic and philosophical challenges, gives an excitingly useful chronology of the Congo with excerpts from Congo exploration literature, and deftly anticipates issues that discussion of the text will raise. - David Leon Higdon, Conradiana Evenhanded ... it connects Conrad palpably to the European colonization of the continent. - Harper's Magazine [This edition is] far better than anything else on the market today. - Craig Keating, Langara College