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'Heart of Darkness' Quotes

Joseph Conrad's Famous Work

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Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness disguised as a pack of Sovereigns
Ged Carroll renaissancechambara/ Flickr CC
Study Guide Heart of Darkness is a famous work by Joseph Conrad. The author's experiences in Africa gave him plenty of material for this work. Heart of Darkness is the tale of a man who gives into the enticements of power. Here are a few quotes from Heart of Darkness.
  • "The old river in its broad reach rested unruffled at the decline of day, after ages of good service done to the race that peopled its banks, spread out in the tranquil dignity of a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth!"
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealth, the germs of empires."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "And this also... has been one of the dark places of the earth."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "In some inland post feel the savagery, the utter savagery, had closed round him--all that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men. There's no initiation either into such mysteries. He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is detestable. And it has a fascination, too, which goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination--you know. Imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "Often far away there I thought of these two, guarding the door of Darkness, knitting black wool as for a warm pall, one introducing, introducing continuously to the unknown, the other scrutinizing the cheery and foolish faces with unconcerned old eyes. Ave! Old knitter of black wool. Morituri te salutant. Not many of those she looked at ever saw her again--not half, by a long way."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "Nothing happened. Nothing could happen. There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding, a sense of lugubrious drollery in the sight; and it was not dissipated by somebody on board assuring me earnestly there was a camp of native--he called them enemies!--hidden out of sight somewhere."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "In and out of rivers, streams of death in life, whose banks were rotting into mud, whose waters, thickened with slime, invaded the contorted mangroves, that seemed to writhe at us in the extremity of an impotent despair. Nowhere did we stop long enough to get a particularlised impression, but the general sense of vague and oppressive wonder grew upon me. It was like a weary pilgrimage amongst hints for nightmares."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "When one has got to make correct entries, one comes to hate those savages--hate them to the death."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "I couldn't help asking him once what he meant by coming here at all. 'To make money, of course. What do you think?' he said scornfully."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "Do you see him? Do you see the story? Do you see anything? It seems I am trying to tell you a dream--making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is the very essence of dreams."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream--alone."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 1

  • "It was a distinct glimpse: the dugout, four paddling savages, and the lone white man turning his back suddenly on the headquarters, on relief, on thoughts of home--perhaps; setting his face towards the depth of the wilderness, towards his empty and desolate station."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 2

  • "The reaches opened before us and closed behind, as if the forest had stepped leisurely across the water to bar the way for our return. We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 2

  • "Everything belonged to him--but that was a trifle. The thing to know was what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own. That was the reflection that made you creepy all over. It was impossible--not good for one either--trying to imagine. He had taken a high seat amongst the devils of the land--I mean literally. You can't understand--how could you?"
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 2

  • "It was very simple, and at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: 'Exterminate all the brutes!'"
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 2

  • "I tell you... this man has enlarged my mind."
    - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 2

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