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Download Heart of Darkness Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Heart of Darkness Audiobook, by Joseph Conrad Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.16 out of 53.16 out of 53.16 out of 53.16 out of 53.16 out of 5 3.16 (32 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joseph Conrad Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9781455170647
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Compelling, exotic, and suspenseful, Heart of Darkness is far more than just an adventure story. The novel explores deep into the dark regions of the hearts and souls of its characters and into the conflicts prevalent in more “primitive” cultures. It is also a striking picture of the moral deterioration that can result from prolonged isolation.

Marlow, the story’s narrator, tells his friends of an experience in the Congo where he once ran a river steamer for a trading company. He tells of the ivory traders’ cruel exploitation of the natives there. Chief among these is a greedy and treacherous European named Kurtz, who has used savagery to obtain semidivine power over the natives. While Marlow tries to get Kurtz back down the river, Kurtz tries to justify his actions, asserting that he has seen into the very heart of things.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Heart of Darkness has had an influence that goes beyond the specifically literary. This parable of a man’s ‘heart of darkness’ dramatized in the alleged ‘Dark Continent’ of Africa transcended its late Victorian era to acquire the stature of one of the great, if troubling, visionary works of western civilization.”

    Joyce Carol Oates

  • “Once experienced, it is hard to let Heart of Darkness go. A masterpiece of surprise, of expression, and psychological nuance, of fury at colonial expansion and of how men make the least of life, the novella is like a poem, endlessly readable and worthy of rereading.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “One of literature’s most somber fictions. It explores fundamental questions about man’s nature: his capacity for evil; the necessity for restraint; the effect of physical darkness and isolation on a civilized soul; and the necessity of relinquishing pride for one’s own spiritual salvation.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature

  • “Born to Polish parents in what is now known as the Ukraine, Joseph Conrad would become one of the greatest writers in the English language…He not only solidified his place in the panethon of great novelists, but also established himself as a keen-eyed chronicler of the social and political themes that animated the contemporary world around him.”

    John G. Peters, author of Conrad and Impressionism

  • One of Modern Library's 100 Best English-Language Novels of the Twentieth Century

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anthony Whitehead | 2/8/2014

    " One of my most difficult and laborious reads ever. A story and lesson worth telling, to be sure, but there has to be a better way than this. As I read this, I couldn't help but to think, "The Geneva Convention was probably designed specifically to outlaw torture of this type - nothing contained in the book, just reading the book!" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob | 2/2/2014

    " I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't have seen Apocalypse now first. The casual racism did annoy me a little but I had to accept it as being a product of the times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 1/26/2014

    " Wanted it to be darker. I need a British lit nerd to talk about this with me. I was hoping for an African "Apocalypse Now." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lex | 1/23/2014

    " Profound, hypnotically written with metaphors and allegory (and looong descriptions) in abundance. It was probably the most difficult read of my life and I think a lot went past my head though. Here's one I definitely have to return to later. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Corbin | 1/12/2014

    " I thought the book was amazing, the depth that Joseph Conrad uses to describe the trip is haunting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 1/6/2014

    " Despite warnings that this book was one of the premeire colonialist ramblings by dead white men, I decided to read it anyway because it was short and literary, kind of like killing two natives with one hurl of a Spanish-forged sword. And what a great book it was! The prose was quite beautiful, being flowerly and dramatic, but also a bit cumbersome. There's not much I can say that hasn't already been said about this book, but as it seemed to be overly racist and offensive, I sometimes wonder if the author was instead being much more subtle and actually offering a critique of the racist and paternalistic nature of our old european friends. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Deb Myers | 12/25/2013

    " Just couldn't get into this book, decided not to force myself to finish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fiona | 12/25/2013

    " Read because it's a classic and because I've read a lot about the history of Africa. For me, it's not a book I particularly enjoyed and I was glad when I'd finished it. It's an interesting perspective in terms of the time it was written but that is about all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd Neal | 12/10/2013

    " This book is a deceptively dense book. On my first two required readings of the book, I hated it. Upon my third required reading, it clicked and I absolutely loved it. I've revisited it often sense. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marisa | 11/23/2013

    " Brutal, racist and quite good in some ways. Even so, this was the longest short book I have ever read. I'm so happy that's finished. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha Johnson | 11/15/2013

    " I read this decades ago but still remember the description of the port, the workers, the ships, the men. The writing was admirable and the story ishaunting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Геллее Авбакар | 8/15/2013

    " Heart of Darkness is an adventure of the writer who made it under the name of Kurtz. in fact it was about colonialism and what comes after it. It was a reflection of the meaning of Freedom and culture. It says we don't come to civilize person rather we come to take what we want from them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara Grochowski | 12/18/2012

    " Read for Brit Lit Seminar Spring 2013. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wafa | 11/23/2012

    " i did not believe that english is not Conrad's mother tongue. His use of language was wonderful, strong, situational and great. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica | 9/7/2012

    " I can see why this was important during the time, but I had a hard time making connections to this. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kara | 3/26/2012

    " This book was like a slow death... I just wanted it to be over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Parkinson | 2/22/2012

    " i agree with perhaps everyone on this one.....not to be missed, or....... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 lauraღ | 1/3/2012

    " Worst four hours of my life. Maybe at some other time I'll go into why this racist, sexist piece of crap pissed me off so much. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bill | 11/4/2011

    " Pretty racist the way it was written. But there are some good ideas and it was short. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Will Daly | 10/18/2011

    " No contemporary books have even approached this one in terms of quality. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 8/13/2011

    " Fantastic little book with a powerful and adventurous story; madness can bring great insight! This is the book that provided the character of Colonel Kurtz for Apocalypse Now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrew O | 6/12/2011

    " This was an interesting book, but a bit short. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dad | 5/22/2011

    " I read this as part of my Advanced Placement English class during my senior year at Roy High School.
    This book had a lot of symbolism. Everything there was meant to be "dark." I still remember it after 40 years. It kinda gave me a creepy feeling. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mary | 5/22/2011

    " This book was a real challenge for me. Book group wanted to read a classic and someone picked this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christopher | 5/21/2011

    " One of my favorite books due to the contemplative nature of the narrative and its dialogue concerning the human experience. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tanya | 5/19/2011

    " Worst high school assignment ever... but maybe it was the teacher and my group rather than the book... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gretchen | 5/18/2011

    " So boring. I can see why people think it was amazing... but really, what a bore. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ctb | 5/16/2011

    " Achebe is wrong! This book exposes and condemns European racism and colonization, not condones it. It even, in 1898, takes a stab at sexism. Conrad was a genius. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Oskari | 5/15/2011

    " A simple novella plotwise. The language is powerful, scenery oppresive and the themes intellectually brutal. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deepti | 5/12/2011

    " Brilliant, although you need multiple reads to uncover it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steffi | 5/11/2011

    " Good start. By the end you get a bit drowned in the heavy 19th-century writing style. There are some good excerpts and thoughtful moral messages, if you can manage to pick them out from the rubble of words... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 5/10/2011

    " the sentences! the sentences! The very end makes no sense to me, though. Think he screwed that up. I also don't see what was so great about Kurtz. Seems to me that might have been shown better. But the rest is beautifully written, sentence after sentence. "

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About the Author
Author Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad (Józef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) (1857–1924) was born in Ukraine. Raised by an uncle after the death of his parents, he educated himself by reading widely in Polish and French. At age twenty-one he began a long career sailing the seas on French merchant vessels, after which he went to London and began writing, using the romance and adventure of his own life for his incomparable sea novels.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.