The great Scot, Brian Cox, has enjoyed a brilliant career as an actor specializing in Shakespearean drama. He is the perfect choice, therefore, to perform Joseph Conrad’s demanding and seminal short novels, Youth and Heart of Darkness. Both novels focus on the human condition through the prism of Marlowe, a swarthy English seaman.
In Youth, Marlowe suffers a horrendous shipwreck en route to Thailand. In Heart of Darkness, Marlowe sails deep into the African jungle where he meets Kurtz, arguably a personification of the degrading power of imperialism. While the novels were written one year apart, Heart of Darkness is widely considered one of the great works of the English language and is the basis of the Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now.
In these two magnificent novellas Conrad explores the question of self-discovery through powerful and exciting narratives: In Youth, the experienced seaman Marlow tells the story of a young man's coming of age on his first voyage to the East, while in Heart of Darkness he describes with terrifying depth and vividness the slide into corruption of an idealistic trader, Kurtz, who has become the demi-devil of the Inner Station in the Belgian Congo...
To supplement this reading of Heart of Darkness, listen to The SparkNotes Guide to Heart of Darkness.