Heart of Darkness and the Secret Sharer

Heart of Darkness and the Secret Sharer

by Joseph Conrad

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Overview

Heart Of Darkness. The story of the civilized, enlightened Mr. Kurtz who embarks on a harrowing "night journey" into the savage heart of Africa, only to find his dark and evil soul. The Secret Sharer. The saga of a young, inexperienced skipper forced to decide the fate of a fugitive sailor who killed a man in self-defense. As he faces his first moral test the skipper discovers a terrifying truth — and comes face to face with the secret itself. Heart Of Darkness and The Secret Sharer draw on actual events and people that Conrad met or heard about during his many far-flung travels. In portraying men whose incredible journeys on land and at sea are also symbolic voyages into their own mysterious depths, these two masterful works give credence to Conrad's acclaim as a major psychological writer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781434116192
Publisher: The Editorium
Publication date: 07/30/2008
Pages: 172
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) grew up amid political unrest in Russian-occupied Poland. After twenty years at sea with the French and British merchant navies, he settled in England in 1894. Over the next three decades he revolutionized the English novel with books such as Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, and especially Heart of Darkness, his best-known and most influential work.

Date of Birth:

December 3, 1857

Date of Death:

August 3, 1924

Place of Birth:

Berdiczew, Podolia, Russia

Place of Death:

Bishopsbourne, Kent, England

Education:

Tutored in Switzerland. Self-taught in classical literature. Attended maritime school in Marseilles, France

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Heart of Darkness and the Secret Sharer 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Aqua) she passed him a bundle of 900 gems. "Hey can i get a flaming jacket and a painting palete?" She asked. she looked around. "Do you sell any female enchanted emo clothing? Like a dress?" She asked. She pulled out a bundle of about 25000 gems. "Ill pay whatever!" She insisted. Desperate.
Stormrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
3/20 Quite enjoyed this one - thought it would be much tougher than it was. The introduction was lovely (although I have a MUCH older version, so I didn't read Oates) - it got me in the right mindset.Starting with "The Secret Sharer" was also good, as it got me accustomed to Conrad's style and psychology - not that you can ever fully understand it! But in any case "Heart of Darkness" would have been a hit. It's...absolutely haunting. Conrad is brilliant in how much he lets us know about Kurtz - or how little - because it allows us to put our own interpretations on him. He's a fascinating character. The theme of nightmares is also quite prevelant - the idea that neither of the two sides of imperialism we see - Kurtz and the company - are good, but only two versions of nightmares, of which Marlowe must choose one. It's powerful precisely because there is no redemption to be found. The concept of the alien - of the alien continent, as it were - pervades the novel. It's hard to tell if colonialism and imperialism are dealt with fully - we only get one side of the coin (meaning that the criticism comes only from the white europeans, and africans are denied a voice and identity in the novel). However, that may be by design, through Conrad's dealing with alienation.As usual, very disjointed review.
nycbookgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The introduction is really interesting. I did not know Joseph Conrad...a great "English" writer was really Polish. His name is really Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. Wow, huh? That and he didn't really learn the English language until he was twenty. His books, well at least these two, have real moral and psychological undertones. I love that.Heart of DarknessPublished in 1902, Heart of Darkness begins the story on a ship leaving London. Marlow, one of the English passengers on the ship tells a story of when he was a Captain of a boat in the Congo doing Ivory trading. He is given the task of going down the Congo River to retrieve a fellow ivory trader, Kurtz, who has quite the reputation in the region.While the writing is very very wordy (the introduction even notes that), the imagery is very strong. He depicts the horrible conditions of the slaves in the area. And when he finally does meet Kurtz, the absolute lack of humanity in him is just...well plain scary. And that's when it gets sort of into the psychological aspect of the story. I mean Kurtz is a horrible trader who will do anything to get more ivory. I mean the guy has heads on stakes around his place. Just as a warning. But Kurtz has presence. Just pure evil genius. And Marlow actually starts to admire him. Not admire what he does or did but just the genius of it all. It really confronts that idea of the ability of everyone to be or do evil. Kind of like in World War II...how do regular people end up doing horrific things? Even the title of the story, Heart of Darkness is a psychological twist. Africa used to be called the "Dark Continent" but it's really about the darkness of the human heart.The Secret SharerThis short story, published in 1910, was a bit more straight forward than Heart of Darkness but still pretty good. The story is about a newbie Captain of a ship. He really hasn't gotten to know his crew or his ship. While he on watch during the night, he finds a naked man hanging onto the ladder of his ship in the water. He takes the man on board, hides him in his cabin, and learns his story. The man is named Leggatt and is from the ship, Sephora, which is nearby. During a horrible storm, Leggatt, in a fit of rage, killed a fellow shipmate because Leggatt thought the shipmate was being lax in his duties. He escaped punishment by diving in the water, feigning drowning and hiding.So the Captain actually sides with this guy! He hides him, lies to his crew, and lies to the Sephora Captain. He even goes as far as to call this guy "his other self"...I mean he really identifies more with this murderer than with anyone else. Kind of crazy.Conclusion:I'll have to read more Joseph Conrad. I love the psychological/moral twist in these stories. They really make me ponder things long after I've read them. And I love that Joseph Conrad actually went to these places since he worked in the French and British Merchant Navies. It makes me wonder how much of his stories he took from real life...which is kind of scary.
SoonerCatholic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Setting: The main part of the story is set in the heart of Africa where the narrator leans about man's inhumanity to man.Plot: Marlow recounts his journey on the Congo where he meets the infamous Kurtz.Characters: Marlow (protagonist)- commands steamboat; Kurtz (antagonist)- manager at Inner Station; Canibals- worked the shipSymbols: Africa as a place of darkness, Kurtz's depravity, restraint of the nativesCharacteristics: Moral reflectionResponse: I was at first bored by the prose but towards the end I became morbidly fascinated with Kurtz.
conformer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Conrad's Heart Of Darkness, while a very short novel, (it barely breaks the hundred-page mark) is so concentrated as to tax the reader from tearing through it. Less of a travelogue of one man's journey into the jungle to retrieve another, and more of an analysis of the title's black center that exists in all of us. Not exactly a beach book.
glade1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These stories are two of those classics that I've heard about for years but never gotten around to reading. Now I finally have, and I can't say I've been missing too much. I began with Heart of Darkness, which is actually the second story in the volume, and it might have been better if I had started with The Secret Sharer, which is a bit more accessible if a little bland.I had anticipated that Heart of Darkness would be more action-packed, but as the writer of the introduction points out, this tale is a look into psychological issues, not driven so much by history or plot. To be honest, I found it boring. I imagine it was groundbreaking when it was released, but there have certainly been other (and probably better - The Poisonwood Bible comes to mind) novels that looked at similar issues since then. I read that the story was somewhat autobiographical, and I understand that Conrad actually made that trek up the Congo, but there were certain aspects that didn't ring true to me. They are small details compared to the themes in the story but the distracted me. For example, the narrator keeps talking about the silence surrounding the humans in Africa, but I cannot imagine jungle and river and tropics without imagining lots of NOISE - birds, insects, and larger animals. Could it really have been silent? In addition, I found myself questioning the narrator's assumption that the Africans on the trek with him were cannibals. Perhaps those locals were, but I fear this was a stereotype designed to make them more alien. Small things, as I said, but somehow important to me as a reader.There was much left unsaid in Heart of Darkness. The reader has to make assumptions about Kurtz and his actions, and I'm afraid I was in a bit of a muddle. Did he love the Africans and come to identify with them? Did he simply enjoy being idolized by them? Did he see them as human or less than human? What really was "the horror" he cried about at the end of his life? What were the events that led to the state in which Marlow found him? Difficult for me to say - and maybe that was the author's intention, or maybe I'm too far removed from that time and mindset to figure it out.The Secret Sharer was an easier read but less interesting. The narrator makes much of his feeling that Leggatt is his twin self, and I suppose that is because he identified with the stowaway, but I didn't really see the big deal. If he believed the man and felt it best to help him, then that's great. If he agonized over the propriety of his decision, there is little to indicate it in the text. Again, perhaps there is too much time and distance from the life he describes for me to be able to identify.I'm of course glad I have finally read these tales that have persisted for so long, and perhaps once I have spent more time mulling them over I will appreciate them more.
ajjacobson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This intellectually stimulating novel follows a man named Marlow on his adventure up the Congo river and into the middle of Africa, or "Heart of Darkness". He is a steam boat captain for a British Ivory-trading corporation. His duty is to first repair his damaged ship, then travel up the river to bring back the infamous Mr. Kurtz. Kurtz is a mysterious but highly intelligent man who somehow brings in boatloads of Ivory for the company. Marlow must embark on his journey to find Kurtz, to see if he's still alive, and perhaps unravel some of his secrets.One of the main characters, Mr. Kurtz, has embodied the idea of a Utopian society. He is perfectly happy living in the jungle with no other people from the civilized world. He prefers to make friends with the natives and spend his time digging up fossilized ivory. He becomes enthralled with this savage lifestyle and longs to remain in the jungle and even die there. When Marlow tries to get Mr. Kurtz to leave the station, Mr. Kurtz dies on the inside. His Utopian, wild, native life has been ruined. He has been thrown back into the dystopian society of Europe. The "white" people have ruined the Utopian societies of the jungle. They bring greed and slavery into a world that did not know such things. A dystopian society is thrust upon the natives and Mr. Kurtz (who has practically become a native himself).This was a very interesting book and overall it was very intriguing. It was a very difficult book to read, however. The wording was complicated at times and often the narrator, Marlow, went off on rants that would continue for pages and pages. If the storyline had been uninterrupted by these rants, the book would have been a lot better. This is definitely not a book you want to read for relaxation purposes, it takes a lot of thinking! Perhaps someone a little older would enjoy it more than I did.
sarjah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I will admit that its possible I didn't get this book, but I thought there was a large buildup and then a small payoff. Other things about this book were good the writing style was great and the story is engaging but when you finally meet Kurtz you expect something more than he is.
DCArchitect on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Conrad's engrossing examination of the nature of man, civilization and madness in the form of a dark adventure is also a damning examination of European colonialism.Full of exacting descriptions of unresolved feelings and experiences, the book worms its way into your immagination.A classic of 20th century lit. for very good reason
osunale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Secret Sharer is certainly the better of these two stories (but perhaps that is simply because I find the maritime setting generally more appealing than the colonial Africa one), though Heart of Darkness is one of the most compelling tales of human darkness that I've ever come across. HoD reads like a psychological thriller with the intelligence and insight needed to back it up. Intense and trudging, this story from the most brilliant of novelists does not make light or easy reading but is well worth any effort the reader makes to comprehend the primal darkness of the soul.
Jeyra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although they are never directly addressed, the wounds inflicted by Leopold's rape of the Congo are visible everywhere, and for that reason alone, it is worth reading. The whole journey into the darkness of the human soul, too, of course. Appropriate reading for anyone.
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In ¿The Secret Sharer¿, the main conflict is between a captain on a ship and an identical double of his. The captain while on night watch found this ¿secret sharer¿ of the captain¿s life. The captain finds this man swimming in the nude, lets him on board, puts a robe over him and hides the man in his closet. The captain risks his position as captain, his life and the lives of his men and ship. There are a couple of positives in this book. ¿¿the sea lightning played about his limbs at every stir, and he appeared in it ghastly, silvery, fishlike¿¿ (23), this is one stupendous example of Conrad¿s use of diction to illustrate the scene. Conrad utilizes another outstandingly excellent use of diction by explaining suspense the reader and captain feels. The captain questions the steward where he hung the captain¿s coat and the steward responds by saying, ¿In the bathroom, sir¿¿ (50), which is the exact location the secret sharer was. Which, because no one sees the secret sharer, leads to the idea that the captain is possibly insane. However, there are a couple of negatives one would consider about this book. The over use of, ¿¿the secret sharer of my life¿¿ (37), becomes quite agitating. Another negative is, what happens to the captain and his secret sharer?