Is There Ever a Good Time to Read Heart of Darkness?

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Published 1898-1899

Heart of Darkness, a three-part short novel that should have taken less than a week to complete, took me too long because I was distracted due to a personal situation which drained the life out of me for a few days.  The event itself could have felt like my own heart of darkness if I allowed it; but I was able to rise above it.

Frankly , I did not appreciate Heart of Darkness for one page.  In fact, I was quite overjoyed and relieved to finish the last sentence.  It was as if a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.   At the same time, I put my personal situation to rest, and then I put Heart of Darkness to rest.  There was nothing uplifting that I could tell, and I suppose the last thing I needed was this story at this time in my life.  I failed to feel invested in the story, and I lacked the right attitude to soak it in; therefore, I have no interest in going through the summaries or inquiry questions.  Hence, I will skip it, which actually feels quite liberating to say so.

Maybe at another time I will revisit Heart of Darkness.  (Probably not)   But for the curiosity factor, I will watch "Apocalypse Now."  If you are in the least bit interested in this strange narrative, Sparknotes, which helped me comprehend what I was reading, has a somewhat entertaining video summary.  Check it out:

Right now, I am looking forward to my next title on The Well-Educated Mind list: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.  I do hope this one is morally uplifting, inspiring, and stirring.  If not, I think I may need to re-read Jane Eyre!


  1. I failed too with Heart of Darkness, it's just that I don't understand most of the story. I don't think I'd read any other Conrad now... :(

    Good luck with House of Mirth, I'd like to read your thoughts on it!

  2. I just finished Heart of Darkness as well. Glad it's over - didn't enjoy that one.