Abbildung: Heart of Darkness
Abbildung: Heart of Darkness Abbildung: Heart of Darkness Abbildung: Heart of Darkness

Three quarter-bound in cloth with a Modigliani paper side, printed with a design by Sean McSorley. 160 pages; frontispiece and 6 colour illustrations. Printed endpapers. Blocked slipcase..

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Describing the effect he wanted his novella to have on the reader, Joseph Conrad wrote of ‘a sinister vibration that, I hoped, would hang in the air and dwell on the ear after the last note had been struck’. He did not fall short of his aim; few works of fiction possess the haunting and enduring power of Heart of Darkness. Inspired by Conrad’s 1890 voyage up the Congo River in the service of the Société Anonyme Belge pour le Commerce du Haut-Congo, but given a profound, universal quality apparently outside his direct experience, the story begins with a familiar premise: one man’s bid to quench his thirst for adventure by undertaking a journey to a remote part of the world. But swiftly its intense prose, rich in imagery at once alluring and malignant, is immersed in complex, challenging themes: madness, the nature of the soul, the limitations of language in conveying experience, the gulf between perception and reality, and, controversially, the fallibility – or perhaps the damning exposure – of so-called civilised ideals when returned to a ‘primeval’ environment.

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