Versions of the Text

Different file types allow different capabilities.  For example, you can download pdf files.   However, the Scholar Annotation tool will not work with pdfs but will for html and some electronic books.

Full Text HTML: Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad via Univeristy of Virginia

Audio Book and Podcasts: Heart of Darkness This offers a read along version as well as streaming or downloading of sections.

Radio Dramatization by Orson Wells

Books in the Library

Books:  The following books on Joseph Conrad and The Heart of Darkness are avialable in the Jamestown Library:

Heconrad cover 2art of darkness : search for the unconscious Call #: 823.91 ADE Adelman, Gary. Series: Twayne’s masterwork studies ; no. 5 Published 1987

conrad coverJoseph Conrad Call #: 823 JOS edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom. Published 1986


Recommended Websites:

Joseph Conrad Introduction and Literary Criticism

JSTOR: Free registration to access three scholarly articles at a time.

St. Leo University Heart of Darkness LibGuide

Background Information

Helpful Background: Imperialism is a central theme in Heart of Darkness.  John Green provides a good overview in this video.

King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa: This book is widely recognized as establishing that the character of Kurtz was based on several actual people.

Essential Questions

Essential Questions:

  1. Is Heart of Darkness a racist text?
  2. Does man control his own destiny?
  3. How do the characters reflect the society in which they live?
  4. What do these characters’ decisions and actions say about human nature and how we respond to our environment?
  5. What makes us human?
  6. What does it mean to act humanely?
  7. Are we required to act when we see other human beings treated inhumanely, and if so, do the times and culture we live in negate that obligation or excuse our failure to do so?
Online Articles

Achebe, Chinua. “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness'” Massachusetts Review. 18. 1977. Rpt. in Heart of Darkness, An Authoritative Text, background and Sources Criticism. 1961. 3rd ed. Ed. Robert Kimbrough, London: W. W Norton and Co., 1988, pp.251-261

Heart of Darkness and Late-Victorian Fascination with the Primitive and the Double. Samir Elbarbary
Twentieth Century Literature Vol. 39, No. 1 (Spring, 1993), pp. 113-12

The Frontier on Which Heart of Darkness Stands. Wilson Harris. Research in African Literatures. Vol. 12, No. 1, Special Issue on Chinua Achebe (Spring, 1981), pp. 86-93

Google Books