Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

  • “What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth!… The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires” (2)
  • “The yearns of seamen have a direct simplicity” (3).
  • “They were men enough to face the darkness” (4).
  • “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” (4). i.e. your strength is not of your accord, but a gift or luck
  • “‘I don’t want to bother you much with what happened to me personally,’ he began, showing in this remark the weakness of many tellers of tales who seem so often unaware of what their audience would best like to hear” (5). i.e. tell about you, since you are interesting
  • “It’s queer how out of touch with truth women are” (10)
  • “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 even know” (25)
  • “It takes a man all his inborn strength to fight hunger properly. It’s really easier to face bereavement, dishonor, and the perdition of one’s soul - than this kind of prolonged hunger” (38)
  • “I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable grayness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamor, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid skepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary” (65)
  • “They trespass upon my thoughts” (66)
  • Words

    • diaphanous (adj) Light, delicate, and translucent: “The water shone pacifically; the sky, without a speck, was a benign immensity of unstained light; the very mist on the Essex marshes was like a gauzy and radiant fabric, hung from the wooded rises inland, and draping the low shores in diaphanous folds” (2).

    • trireme (noun) An ancient Greek or Roman war galley with three banks of oars