‘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.’
At the peak of European Imperialism, steamboat captain Charles Marlow travels deep into the African Congo on his way to relieve the elusive Mr Kurtz, an ivory trader renowned for his fearsome reputation. On his journey into the unknown Marlow takes a terrifying trip into his own subconscious, overwhelmed by his menacing, perilous and horrifying surroundings.
The landscape and the people he meets force him to reflect on human nature and society, and in turn Conrad writes revealingly about the dangers of imperialism.
‘He felt that in this crisis his laws of life were useless. Whatever he had learned of himself was here of no avail. He was an unknown quantity.’
Following one soldier’s journey from naive recruit to hardened survivor, The Red Badge of Courage is a vivid and powerfully psychological take on the American Civil War. Fighting for the Union army, Henry Fleming is thrown into a bloody war where the harsh realities and horrors of battle quickly become evident. Fearful, occasionally vain, but always viewing the war with honest eyes, Henry eventually comes to thrive as a soldier in combat, and it is with a a new conscience and outlook that he matures into manhood.