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Heart of Darkness

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – 06 Sep 2007

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For many years Heart of Darkness has been considered a great novella, one of a few great short novels in the Western canon. Because it addresses directly the ambiguity of good and evil, when it was first published the novel foreshadowed many of the themes and stylistic devices that define modern literature.One of Conrad's finest stories, loosely based on the author's experience of rescuing a company agent from a remote station in the heart of the Congo, Heart of Darkness is set in an atmosphere of mystery and lurking danger, and tells of Marlow's perilous journey up the Congo River to relieve his employer's agent, the fabled and terrifying Mr. Kurtz. What Marlow sees on his journey horrifies and perplexes him, and what his encounter with Kurtz reveals calls into question all of his assumptions about civilization and human nature.Endlessly reinterpreted by critics and read in schools by countless students, the novel has been adapted numerous times for film-most famously Apocalypse Now-and shows Conrad at his finest, most intense, and most sophisticated.Heart of Darkness was originally published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine in 1899 and published in book form in 1902. The present text derives from Doubleday's collected edition of Conrad's works, published in 1920-1921.
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Specificații

ISBN-13: 9780979660733
ISBN-10: 0979660734
Pagini: 104
Dimensiuni: 129 x 205 x 7 mm
Greutate: 0.14 kg
Editura: Coyote Canyon Press

Notă biografică

Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski was born in 1857 in the Russian part of Poland. His parents were punished for their Polish nationalist activities, and the family was exiled to northern Russia. At age twelve, after both of his parents had died of tuberculosis, Conrad was sent to live with his uncle in Switzerland. During his youth he attended schools in Krakow, was involved in arms smuggling for the Carlist cause in Spain, and joined the French merchant marine. Conrad continued his naval career for sixteen years in the British merchant navy, and in 1886, he commanded his own ship, the Otago. In that same year, he became a British citizen and changed his name to Joseph Conrad.Conrad sailed to many parts of the world, including Australia, the West Indies, South America, and the Congo River. It was during theses long journeys that he started to write. At age thirty-six, Conrad ended his sea career, devoted himself entirely to literature, and settled in England. Two years later, he married an Englishwoman, by whom he had two sons. Despite the immediate critical recognition of his major novels, they did not sell well. The family lived in relative poverty until the commercial success of Chance in 1913. Having finally received acclaim, he was offered a knighthood in 1923, which he declined. Conrad died of a heart attack one year later.Conrad crystallized his often quoted goal as a writer: "My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel-it is, above all, to make you see. That-and no more, and it is everything."Conrad's works of extreme subtlety, sophistication, and technical complexities-and the unprecedented way in which he communicates a pessimist's view of man's personal and social destiny-established him as one of the first English "modernists." Critics consider him to be the single most important innovator of twentieth-century literature.Many of Conrad's novels drew material, events, and personalities from his own experiences in different parts of the world. His most popular works are Heart of Darkness (influenced by his journey up the Congo River, where he learned about atrocities made by Congo "explorers"), Lord Jim (drawn from his career in the British navy), and Nostromo. Conrad's novels had a significant impact on other twentieth-century writers, including Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Eliot, Sartre, and Greene. Several of Conrad's stories have been made into films, most notably Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, based on Heart of Darkness, and Alfred Hitchcock's The Sabotage, based on The Secret Agent. Scott Brick has recorded over five hundred audiobooks, has won over forty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and has twice received Audie Awards for his work on the Dune series. He has been proclaimed both a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine and Publishers Weekly's 2007 Narrator of the Year. Scott has recorded Frank Herbert's Hellstrom's Hive, Whipping Star, The Dragon in the Sea, and The White Plague for Tantor Audio.

Recenzii

"The brilliant mind behind Moby Dick in Pictures is back to illustrate Joseph Conrad’s classic."
—Flavorwire

"Darkness never looked so good: Matt Kish's illustrated edition of Joseph Conrad's classic follows the template he created with Moby-Dick In Pictures ."
The National Post

"For your friend who slept through English class, an illustrated version of a classic: Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad and illustrated by Matt Kish."
— The Airship (picked Matt Kish's Heart of Darkness as one of the best books of 2013!)

"Two years after his infinitely wonderful illustrations for every page of Moby-Dick, which ranked among the best art and design books of 2011, self-taught Ohio-based artist Matt Kish returns with an equally exquisite edition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (public library). With one haunting acrylic-paint-and-ink illustration for every page, Kish — whose artwork was included in the excellent compendium The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3reinvigorates the Conrad classic and its timeless themes of race, gender, power, privilege, and the dualities of the human soul."
—Brainpickings

Cuprins

AUTHORBIO: Cedric Watts teaches at the University of Sussex.

Textul de pe ultima copertă

Although Polish by birth, Joseph Conrad (1857 1924) is regarded as one of the greatest writers in English, and Heart of Darkness, first published in 1902, is considered by many his "most famous, finest, and most enigmatic story." Encyclopaedia Britannica. The tale concerns the journey of the narrator (Marlow) up the Congo River on behalf of a Belgian trading company. Far upriver, he encounters the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory trader who exercises an almost godlike sway over the inhabitants of the region. Both repelled and fascinated by the man, Marlow is brought face to face with the corruption and despair that Conrad saw at the heart of human existence.
In its combination of narrative and symbolic power, masterly character study and acute psychological penetration, Heart of Darkness ranks as a landmark of modern fiction. It is a book no serious student of literature can afford to miss."


Extras


INTRODUCTION
Every illustrator, no matter what the project, is confronted with choices. In considering how to approach Heart of Darkness, I had to make a lot of choices, and they were never simple. What struck me while illustrating Moby-Dick in Pictures was just how vast Melville’s novel seemed. It is an enormous book that, to paraphrase Whitman, contains multitudes. It contradicts itself in style and tone in gloriously messy ways and it’s strong enough to carry the weight of the visions of dozens of artists, from Rockwell Kent to Frank Stella to Benton Spruance to Leonard Baskin to, well, me. What I’m saying here is that with Melville, there is room.

Conrad is something entirely different, particularly when it comes to Heart of Darkness. There is a terrifying feeling of claustrophobia and a crushing singularity of purpose to the story. It’s almost as if the deeper one reads, the farther down a tunnel one is dragged, all other options and paths dwindling and disappearing, until nothing is left but that awful and brutal encounter with Kurtz and the numbing horror of his ideas. Where Moby-Dick roams far and wide across both land and sea, Heart of Darkness moves in one direction only, and that is downward.

While it could never have been an easy task to take a well known piece of classic literature and breathe some different kind of life into it with pictures, the inexorable downward pull of this black hole of a story—this bullet to the head—made demands that I couldn’t have imagined. Poe wrote that “a short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it,” and I knew that in order to let Conrad’s ideas knife their way inside, every one of my illustrations had to carry this mood and build toward that ending. But what to exclude? What to leave out? Which path to go down? How to take this story of white men and black men and Africa, this filthy horrible business of ivory and slavery and greed and murder, and show it, really show it, in such a way that this mood would be visible?

Begin with the title: Heart of Darkness. One would think, initially at least, that here is the first visual clue. Darkness. Blackness. Inky swirls of ebony on murky pages. That seemed too easy to me, entirely too obvious. But there was another reason why I knew immediately that this was not the right choice to make. In college, as an undergraduate, I took an introduction to poetry class. A very basic thing, really, just an overview of Western poetry hitting all the proper and expected notes. The professor, though, was not at all proper or expected, and her almost embarrassing passion for poetry put us all on edge and made our minds scuffed and raw enough for the poetry we studied to leave a few scars. At some point, while discussing Requiem by Christina Georgina Rossetti, the professor devolved into another of her oddly personal narrations exploring the poem and its significance to her. It involved her brother, his murder, and her as a young woman in college attending his funeral on what she called the warmest and sunniest day she could remember. At first she was outraged but gradually she broke down—apparently at that funeral then again in front of the stunned class—when she realized that murder could and did take place under the bright and shining sun, where everyone could see. It was folly to think that terrible things happen only in the dark. That experience stayed with me and informed the first choice I made. Conrad’s Africa, the scene of so much death, so much killing, so much horror, would not be a dark place in the literal sense. The sun would shine there, in my images, as brightly and hotly as it does on the happiest of days and that would be the right way, the best way, to look unflinchingly at what Conrad is putting in front of us. Immediately, the world of the novel began to take shape, a place filled with bright acid greens, the patterns of leaves and the shadows of trees, a sickly diseased yellow sky rotten with the kind of sunlight that casts everything into a sharp and lacerating clarity. The first choice had been made.

While Heart of Darkness is set in Africa during the rape of a continent and at the height of what amounted to a racially and economically driven genocide, what disturbed me the most is that these things are hardly confined to that part of the globe or even that period of time. All our history is stained with what Conrad so aptly described as “just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind.” I knew that in order illustrate this book truthfully, I had to find a way to show that what happens in Heart of Darkness is horrifyingly universal. That it doesn’t end there and will probably never end. That this wasn’t just the story of Europeans in Africa, it is the story of humanity, wherever we may go. I needed to find a way to show that at the bottom of it all, we are all complicit in this. We have all profited from it. To do that I had to take these pictures and pull them away from reality, away from what the viewer might be able to connect to a specific time or place or thing and make them something so odd that they could literally be anything. Only then would the names “Africa” and “Europe” and the concepts of “whiteness” and “blackness” fall away so that the reader could see it for what it is—“robbery with violence” and “aggravated murder on a great scale.” Conrad’s Europeans became grotesqueries. Pale, bloated, fleshy monstrosities with gaping slavering mouths, huge brutal hands, and intentionally symbolic heads. Their victims, while perhaps marginally less monstrous, are gaunt and spectrally black. Shades of death, no strangers to superstition, hatred, and violence themselves, lurk furtively in the hidden spaces of a nightmare-green landscape overrun with conquerors, fanatics, and opportunists quick with the gun and the lash. The second choice had been made.

But pictures do not move, they lie on the page frozen in time, static and dead. This is not a choice; it is a simple fact. And yet it was something I felt I could use to my advantage. Heart of Darkness, in spite of being a story about a journey up a river, is rife with a sense of paralysis, stasis, stillness, and futility. In his narration, Marlow relays image after image after image, all of which emphasize this dance of death taking place before him. On his way to Africa aboard a French steamer, he describes how “[w]e pounded along, stopped, landed soldiers; went on, landed custom-house clerks to levy toll in what looked like a God-forsaken wilderness, with a tin shed and a flag-pole lost in it; landed more soldiers—to take care of the custom-house clerks, presumably. Some, I heard, got drowned in the surf; but whether they did or not, nobody seemed particularly to care. They were just flung out there, and on we went. Every day the coast looked the same, as though we had not moved.” There is the awful feeling that no matter what is done, what effort is expended, it won’t matter at all. The sun will keep hammering down, the killing will continue, and the awful charade will go on and on. And the relentless dance of death continues, unceasingly and unmercifully. Again, Conrad puts it best when he writes of a warship incomprehensibly firing its cannon into the jungle “and nothing happened. Nothing could happen. There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding.” This “touch of insanity” hangs over the book, the journey, and the final meeting with Kurtz like a cloud of flies on a corpse.

It all eventually comes down to Kurtz. He is the dark polestar at the center of the novel, the rotting heart around which everything circles in the slow maelstrom. Kurtz almost proved to be my undoing. In Moby-Dick, Ahab is at least a kind of antihero whose insane pride and unwillingness to accept divine providence drive him on and on to lash out continually against an uncaring and unyielding universe. Kurtz gives nothing; he only takes. Kurtz is a disease for the reader, a rot that starts almost innocently but ever so slowly sinks deeper and deeper, cell by cell, into the brain like a cancer until what was there before is no longer known and all is Kurtz. Marlow’s curious synthesis of hatred for and terror and worship of Kurtz mirror the reader’s, I think, and definitely my own. It is said many times that Kurtz is “a remarkable man,” but it is not until the climax, the inevitable meeting, that this is made quite clear. Kurtz, a product of all of Europe and now safely nestled in the bosom of the wilderness, astride both worlds, had a vision that “was wide enough to embrace the whole universe, piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that beat in the darkness. He had summed up—he had judged. 'The horror!'” Initially we may react to this with disbelief and denial. But we can’t help eventually giving in until the surrender is near total. Having to live with this, having to think about Kurtz and his ideas every day for months, having to become complicit in bringing the man to some kind of life through these illustrations took a savage toll on me. Like Marlow, I became infected with his ideas. Like Marlow, I began to see Kurtz as a “remarkable man.” Like Marlow, who admits, “That is why I have remained loyal to Kurtz to the last, and even beyond, when a long time after I heard once more, not his own voice, but the echo of his magnificent eloquence thrown to me from a soul as translucently pure as a cliff of crystal,” I found in Kurtz a dark and welcoming mirror. It seems that Conrad has, in this tale, provided the key for all of us to unlock our own heart of darkness.

And this can be seen, quite literally seen, in the illustrations. Kurtz begins as an icon, a severed head floating on a golden background crowned with a blood-red jewel embedded with ivory, the bleached-white skull-like face of a minor god. The adoration grew as his ideas took root and more and more of Kurtz is revealed—a gaunt and stricken colossus of a man, by no means unintentionally resembling Christ, hanging transcendentally in a green hell no longer brightened by the sun but instead stained with the blackness of his judgment. Kurtz, having retreated deeper and deeper into the wilderness, closer and closer toward that ultimate personal confrontation with reality, has not quietly faded into the solitude of his hard-won knowledge but instead, like a magnet, draws those in his orbit nearer and nearer. This is what it means to read Conrad. That is what it means to illustrate Conrad, and to bring his words into a different kind of life.

Books always end. The reader can delay this in any number of ways, but the final page is always reached unless the story is abandoned. While I had read Heart of Darkness several times in the past, never before had I followed so closely, so uncomfortably, in the footsteps of Marlow. And never before had I felt the death grip of Kurtz so profoundly on both my waking thoughts and my troubled dreams. But, thankfully, it ended. Looking back on this body of work, this step-by-step journey to the heart of darkness and, hopefully, back again, I can see its shape better. I can see how each image was designed with one singular mood, and how that murderous intent was carried through and delivered upon. This book is for me, personally and artistically, a long and slow

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