Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness is a short novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1902. One of Conrad's best works, the story reflects his experiences during a riverboat voyage in the Belgian Congo. Marlow, the narrator, reminiscing about his adventures in the Congo as a boat captain for a concern that traded in ivory, remembers the terrible treatment of the native people by the self-seeking company agents.
He recalls rumors that were spread about one agent, Mr. Kurtz, once a reputedly kind and idealistic man, who by some mysterious means was able to obtain more ivory than anyone eke. Intrigued, Marlow set out to find Kurtz in the jungle and discovered him to be morally corrupted by greed for power and dying of tropical disease.
The story's title symbolizes the jungle and also the dark and bestial side of man's nature. T.S. Eliot's epigram for his poem The Hollow Men, "Mistah Kurtz, he dead," is taken from this story.