Quotes from Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad ·  188 pages

Rating: (333K votes)


“It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“I don't like work--no man does--but I like what is in the work--the chance to find yourself. Your own reality--for yourself not for others--what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“No, it is impossible; 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, quote from Heart of Darkness


“Droll thing life is -- that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself -- that comes too late -- a crop of inextinguishable regrets.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“He struggled with himself, too. I saw it -- I heard it. I saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith, and no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“The mind of man is capable of anything.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself and, by heavens I tell you, it had gone mad.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“We live in the flicker -- may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“It seems to me 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 of the very essence of dreams...No, it is impossible; 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, quote from Heart of Darkness


“You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appals me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies - which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world - what I want to forget.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“We live as we dream - alone. While the dream disappears, the life continues painfully.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“Even extreme grief may ultimately vent
itself in violence--but more generally takes the form of apathy”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“They trespassed upon my thoughts. They were intruders whose knowledge of life was to me an irritating pretense, because I felt so sure they could not possibly know the things I knew. Their bearing, which was simply the bearing of commonplace individuals going about their business in the assurance of perfect safety, was offensive to me like the outrageous flauntings of folly in the face of a danger it is unable to comprehend. I had no particular desire to enlighten them, but I had some difficulty in restraining myself from laughing in their faces, so full of stupid importance.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmostphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“Like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds. We live in the flicker.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“Do you see the story? Do you see anything? It seems to me 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, quote from Heart of Darkness


“the mind of man is capable of anything--because everything is in it, all the past as well as the future”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“His very existence was improbable, inexplicable, and altogether bewildering. He was an insoluble problem. It was inconceivable how he had existed, how he had succeeded in getting so far, how he had managed to remain -- why he did not instantly disappear.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“I couldn't have felt more of lonely desolation somehow, had I been robbed of a belief or had missed my destiny in life...”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“He hated all this, and somehow he couldn't get away.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off forever from everything you had known once -somewhere- far away in another existence perhaps. There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“We couldn't understand because we were too far... and could not remember because we were traveling in the night of first ages, those ages that had gone, leaving hardly a sign... and no memories.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“Anything approaching the change that came over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn't touched. I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror--of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision--he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath:
The horror! The horror!”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“Watching a coast as it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma. There it is before you, smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering, "Come and find out".”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


“They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force--nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.”
― Joseph Conrad, quote from Heart of Darkness


About the author

Joseph Conrad
Born place: in Berdichev (formerly Poland), Ukraine
Born date December 3, 1857
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