Conrad's heart of darkness.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by johnny k, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. johnny k

    johnny k Friend of Leo's

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    I read that it inspired apocalypse now. I really enjoyed the movie, way more than the deer hunter, and i was wondering if it was a good book.
     
  2. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    Conrad is an acquired taste. He was not a native English speaker and some people find his writing almost too 'perfect'. It wasn't his best book (for me) - I thought that was Lord Jim. Having said that... read it - it's a classic and it might just inspire you to read some of his longer novels. His short stories are also very good.
     
  3. esseff

    esseff Tele-Holic

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    It's been many years since I read the book but I remember it being excellent, as were his short stories. This has just reminded me to buy another copy! His writing and command of English is especially commendable as he only learned to speak it in his mid-twenties (a Polish & French speaker). He had quite a life, which obviously coloured his stories.
    One of the best authors ever imo.

    Edit: Bristlehound beat me to (most of) it!
     
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  4. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    The horror! I like Conrad a lot. I've read Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, and I forget what else.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  5. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    It's been many years but as I recall "inspired" is a good description. I believe that the movie is about many of the same ideas in the book but the story lines are not really comparable.
     
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  6. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I'd recommend A Season Of Migration To The North by Tayeb Salih or I'd read Salih first then Conrad. If you want to get a fuller perspective on Africa, then I think it's best to start with the experiences of actual Africans. If you're looking for an adventure story, then I'd go with Conrad's Typhoon. Just my two cents.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  7. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Been many years for me too. I found it a bit difficult reading. I should read it again though, been 20+ years.
     
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  8. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    Bristlehound puts it well. I read it in a lit class, but it was not my favorite. My final for that class included Heart, and I used the movie to successfully supplement the knowledge for my answers!

    I'd take Conrad any day over Virginia Woolf, though. She has a fine command of language, but her middle/upper middle class subject matter turned me off.

    Bristle, I'll have to take your advice under advisement during my library visit!
     
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  9. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    @Toast post reminds me of another author/book, Something of Value by Robert Ruark, about the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 50s based, in part, on Ruark's own experiences in Africa. At times it's a violent and shocking story. It's well written and I enjoyed it. Similar Civilized vs. Native themes as Conrad and Apocalypse.
     
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  10. johnny k

    johnny k Friend of Leo's

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    I read Typhoon, and it didn t left a very good impression on me.
     
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  11. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    I love Heart of Darkness. Conrad can be a struggle, but I found it one of his more readable books. Short, dark, atmospheric, wonderful.
     
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  12. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I read it in high school so I'm a bit hazy on it. I do remember that I liked his prose and the way he described things. It was an appreciation for the subtlety in his writing, but if I read it today I suspect I might find it over the top. It's hard to capture that subtlety in a translation. I once tried to read Edgar Allan Poe in German, yeech, it was awful. I'm also a fan of stories with ocean settings.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
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  13. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    mmm - then it sounds like Conrad isn't for you because Typhoon is one of his best for me.
     
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  14. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    It is a good book but AN took all the best bits out of it, so it will be v familiar
     
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  15. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    It's short and definitely worth reading. But it's most interesting to me as the only classic piece of literature I know of that is actually outdone by a movie: in my opinion Apocalypse Now does a lot better job of showing "the horror" then Heart of Darkness.
     
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  16. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Afflicted

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    I like Conrad he is a great writer.
    Heart of Darkness is not a long story, but
    if you didn't like Typhoon perhaps Conrad isn't for you.
     
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  17. esseff

    esseff Tele-Holic

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    Another slight detour:
    Gerald Hanley is right up there as a fine writer of Africa, both autobiographical and fiction. I'd thoroughly recommend Warriors and Strangers, in which he wrote of his time commanding Somalian troops in WW2. His equal despair and love for the country is brilliantly portrayed. I've read it at least six times and much of it reminds me of my eight or so years in Africa.

    Gerald Hanley Wiki. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjrluaA0o3nAhWLUhUIHXTmD7oQFjAAegQIAxAB&url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Hanley&usg=AOvVaw1C6wy_Cgc522kZCf2XyYe8
     
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  18. Dan German

    Dan German Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Conrad is certainly in my top 5. One of the greatest writers in the English language, despite not being his native language. I wouldn’t say Apocalypse Now was inspired by H of D, I would say it’s a straight-up adaptation, and a good one. Different from the book, but in good ways. I would say that if you read Heart of Darkness, you should pair it with a reading of King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild.
     
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  19. stxrus

    stxrus Friend of Leo's

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    I agree with Conrad being a fine author but a difficult read
    Saw Apocalypse then read Heart. It took a while to get through but, to me, very much worth it
    I’d say give it a try. If you don’t like it you don’t have to finish it
     
  20. kafka

    kafka Tele-Afflicted

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    Joseph Conrad has always been one of my favorite writers. He's not Hemingway, but I've never heard anyone describe his prose as difficult.
     
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