Heart of Darkness is based upon Joseph Conrad’s own experience in the Congo; “it is,” as he remarks in his 1916 author’s note to Youth: A Narrative and Two Other Stories, “experience pushed a little (and only very little) beyond the actual facts.” Unlike many other editions, this new edition of Conrad’s most famous tale focuses on the time in which Conrad was himself in the Congo, while also exploring the differences between his reported experiences and their reshaping in fiction.
This edition includes an extensive selection of Conrad’s correspondence and autobiographical writing, as well as contemporary accounts of the Congo from other writers. Contemporary reviews situate Heart of Darkness in its literary contexts.
“John G. Peters is one of the most authoritative Conrad scholars in the world. This new, scrupulously edited version of Heart of Darkness, with all the invaluable ancillary material Peters includes, will be for the foreseeable future the definitive text of this novel.” — J. Hillis Miller, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, University of California Irvine
“As one would expect from John Peters, this is a solid, conscientious, and eminently useful work of textual editing, with the kind of supplementary apparatus one has come to rely on in Broadview editions (including footnotes, chronology, biographical and historical context, and bibliography, all usefully put together for an undergraduate readership). It is a welcome addition to the array of critical editions of Heart of Darkness now available for students.” — Christopher GoGwilt, Fordham University
“Peters’ selections do a fine job of situating the text within a series of historical and literary debates, and this is supported by the Introduction, which isolates significant elements or challenges of the text, exploring Conrad’s early life, the political situation in Europe and Africa in light of empire and colonialism, before treating literary and thematic features, such as language, narrative, and women. The text, which follows the first English book edition published by Blackwood’s in 1902 as part of Youth: A Narrative and Two Other Stories, and the accompanying documents are all judiciously annotated, and Peters acts as an authoritative guide to the multifaceted layers of Conrad’s novella and the complex contextual currents that swirl around it.” — Richard Niland, The Joseph Conrad Society UK
“Such careful marshalling of material is a hallmark of this edition, and there is a distinct sense of Peters pruning back the undergrowth to clear a path through the chronology. … This is an engaging edition of Heart of Darkness, where Peters expertly marshals historical background, critical debate and contextual resources into a cohesive whole.” — Patricia Pye, Joseph Conrad Today