Heart Of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

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Heart Of Darkness is a controversial classic English book that was written by Joseph Conrad and first published in 1899. The story takes place in the 1890s in the days when European colonization of Africa was at its height.

Although the book didn’t initially receive much success it did become popular, especially in academic circles in the 1940s. It has since gone on to become a classic and is often required reading at schools and universities. In fact, many say that it has become one of the most widely analyzed books in English literature today so it is definitely worth a read! Download a copy of the Heart Of Darkness PDF to explore this controversial story.

Heart Of Darkness PDF Download

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Is the Heart Of Darkness PDF Free To Download?

Yes, it is! Heart of Darkness was first published in 1899 so it is now in the public domain. You are therefore welcome to download and read it for free. We hope you enjoy it!

Heart Of Darkness Summary

Heart Of Darkness begins with five friends who are on a yacht on the River Thames. An English seaman by the name of Charles Marlow tells the group a story about how he was hired by a Belgian company as a captain of one of their river steamers in Africa. He tells how he was asked to collect one of their employees who is working in Africa at the time, a man by the name of Kurtz. Kurtz is rumored to collect much more Ivory than any of the company’s other outposts and they suspect that he is using questionable methods to do so.

When Marlow arrives in Africa he is faced with the horrors of how the local people are treated by the European colonizers and everything he sees starts to affect him. He travels 200 miles inland to the company’s central station where Kurtz is stationed. The book explores how the jungle and Marlows surroundings start to impact him and how the journey is not only a physical journey into Africa but also a mental and psychological one into the heart of darkness for Marlow as well.

When they finally arrive at the station Kurtz is the commander of, they discover that Kurtz is not only ill but also likely mad as well. Marlow has to threaten Kurtz to come with them. On their trip back down the river, Kurtz dies and with his last breath all he can say is “The horror! The horror!”. Before his death, Kurtz gives Marlow a report and other papers but asks him not to give anything to the company.

When Marlow returns to Europe, he is completely disillusioned by the “civilized” world and instead of giving the report to the company he gives it to a journalist and trusts him to do with it as he thinks best. The other papers he gives to Kurtz’s fiancé.

Heart Of Darkness Q&A

What Is The Main Point Of The Heart Of Darkness?

Heart Of Darkness explores the very dark and evil side of European Colonialism and the oppression of indigenous peoples under their rule. It explores the idea that “civilized” is not so civilized after all!

Is Heart Of Darkness A Hard Read?

Heart Of Darkness is quite a short book – our Heart Of Darkness PDF is only 73 pages long. However, many would not consider the book an easy read because many of the topics covered in the book covers are very dark and very difficult.

Is Heart Of Darkness A True Story?

While the Heart Of Darkness book isn’t a true story it is based on a journey that Joseph Conrad took into the Congo in 1890. At the time, he was traveling on a Belgian trading company’s river steamer. While on the steamer the captain became ill and Conrad had to take over command. While commanding the steamer he had many similar experiences to what Marlow had. It is said that he used his journals from this trip as the inspiration for his book.

What Does Heart Of Darkness Suggest About Society?

Heart Of Darkness explores the idea that although at the time, the European nations saw themselves and the colonization of Africa as civilized and good, many of their actions were in fact dark and barbaric. The book explores the opposites that exist in our world where one’s perceptions can so often be completely removed from the facts and realities.

How is Heart Of Darkness A Criticism of Colonialism?

Heart of Darkness shows us how Africa was being exploited by European colonizers for money and Ivory in the 1890s. In the story, very little thought or concern is given to the local people and they are seen as inferior to the colonizers. They are simply seen as “savages” who are expendable. The book also tells us that while the colonizers exploited the people and the land they didn’t offer anything in return for what they plundered.

Heart Of Darkness Movies

The most notable adaptation of Heart Of Darkness was done by Francis Ford Coppola in 1979. His film, Apocolypse Now, was based on Heart Of Darkness and although he changed the setting of the story to South East Asia during the Vietnam war, the story follows the Heart Of Darkness plot quite closely.

Apocalypse Now was very well received and it was nominated for eight Academy Awards including awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Sound.

Apocalypse Now | Official Trailer | 1979


Heart Of Darkness is a true classic that explores the dark themes of European colonialism and the exploitation of local communities and peoples for profit. Although the book is controversial it is definitely worth reading and studying. Download a free copy of the Heart Of Darkness PDF here.