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The finest of all Conrad's tales, Heart of Darkness is set in an atmosphere of mystery and menace, and tells of Marlow's perilous journey up the Congo River to relieve his employer's agent, the renowned and formidable Mr. Kurtz. What he sees on his journey, and his eventual encounter with Kurtz, horrify and perplex him, and call into question the very bases of civilization and human nature. Endlessly reinterpreted by critics and adapted for film, radio, and television, the story shows Conrad at his most intense and sophisticated. The other three tales in this volume depict corruption and obsession, and question racial assumptions. Set in the exotic surroundings of Africa, Malaysia, and the east, they variously appraise the glamour, folly, and rapacity of imperial adventure. This revised edition uses the English first edition texts and has a new chronology and bibliography.
Cedric Watts is an authority on Conrad and the author of numerous books and articles on Conrad including Joseph Conrad: A Literary Life (1989), A Preface to Conrad (2nd edn 1993), and Joseph Conrad (1994). For OWC he has edited Typhoon and Other Tales and other Conrad books for other publishers, most recently Lord Jim for Broadview Press.