Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

A Critical and Contextual Discussion


This book offers a detailed discussion of Conrad’s most brilliant and problematic work. Many significant aspects of Heart of Darkness are examined, from plot and characterisation to imagery and symbolism, and particular attention is paid to its ambiguity and paradoxes. By relating the text to a variety of contexts, Cedric Watts explores Conrad’s central preoccupations as a writer and as a commentator on his age.
The first edition of this study appeared in 1977, and reviewers described it as ‘criticism of the highest order’ (Joseph Conrad Today) and ‘an important book’ (Conradiana).

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After service in the Royal Navy, Cedric Watts read English at Cambridge University, taking his BA (Class 1), MA and Ph.D. there. He has taught at Sussex University since 1965, and is currently Emeritus Professor of English. His publications include 18 critical and scholarly books, notably A Preface to Conrad, The Deceptive Text and Literature and Money; and he has edited 34 volumes of material by Shakespeare, Conrad, Thomas Hardy and others. Edward Said praised Watts as “a man for whom the enjoyment and enrichment of friends and students are the main considerations in what he does”.
Preface to the Second Edition
Acknowledgements to the First Edition
Reflections on the Title
The “Oblique Narrative” Convention and the Tale’s Opening
Marlow’s Narrative (I)
Marlow’s Narrative (II)
Various Themes: Linguistic, Moral, Psychological and Philosophical
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