Okay, so some of you might know that Judith read this for her university course late last year, and hated it. You would think this would put me off reading a book but no, I have endless amounts of morbid curiosity to read the novels that everyone hates, which usually starts off with me thinking ‘well I’m sure this can’t have been that bad’ and ends with ‘I will have nightmares about how terrible this book was’. Basically I have issues and should probably seek medical help. At any rate though, I already had Heart of Darkness on my shelves since it was on the book list for one of my university modules and having never gotten round to reading it I just needed a reason to pick it up. I am just going to blame Judith for the hours I wasted on this insufferably boring excuse for a classic novel, yup. It’s her fault completely *nods*
I want to tell you what this book about but here is my basic understanding of what goes on: something about Africa?? Cannibals?? Super entitled racist narrative by a character who seems to agree that white people colonizing land is a terrible thing to do, not because it’s gross but because those savage non-white people should be left to their savage ways and civilized white people should go back to England and eat cucumber sandwiches or whatever it civilized white people do when they’re not claiming land that doesn’t belong to them in the name of the monarchy??
There is also Kurtz, who our narrator is obsessed with because of reasons I don’t care about. He is like ~really bad~ because he’s the textual metaphor for imperialism? Oh, and something about a very beautiful although exotic i.e. non-white so only good for sexual relations, never marriage ever?
It’s literally about a hundred pages long but nothing makes sense except the racism. Which was fun. I read the Penguin edition of Heart of Darkness which I would recommend to anyone who is interested in this novel, for academic reasons or otherwise, purely because the introduction is very good (and also miles better than the novel it discusses). There is a huge amount of discourse available out there for people interested in this novel too.
Also, fun fact for you: Joseph Conrad, celebrated author of this novel, wrote Heart of Darkness after several months in Africa, during which it is generally agreed that he did not have what would one would constitute as a ‘good time’; he wrote it in English, his third language. Which just goes to show that if you’re a white dude who happens to be intellectual as well as extremely racist everyone will jump to find the deeper meaning in the words you write.
Classic by an Author who is New to You