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Heart of Darkness Quotes

25 of the best book quotes from Heart of Darkness
  1. #1
    “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.”
  2. #2
    “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...”
  3. #3
    “The mind of man is capable of anything.”
  4. #4
    “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.”
  5. #5
    “It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.”
  6. #6
    “Your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others.”
  7. #7
    “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.”
  8. #8
    “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.”
  1. #9
    “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 atmosphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary.”
  2. #10
    “Like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds. We live in the flicker.”
  3. #11
    “It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core.”
  4. #12
    “One can’t live with one’s finger everlastingly on one’s pulse.”
  5. #13
    “I saw him open his mouth wide. . . as though he had wanted to swallow all the air, all the earth, all the men before him.”
  6. #14
    “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 appalls 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.”
  7. #15
    “The horror! The horror!”
  8. #16
    “I couldn’t have felt more of lonely desolation somehow, had I been robbed of a belief or had missed my destiny in life...”
  1. #17
    “We live as we dream--alone....”
  2. #18
    “For a time I would feel I belonged still to a world of straightforward facts; but the feeling would not last long. Something would turn up to scare it away.”
  3. #19
    “He hated all this, and somehow he couldn’t get away.”
  4. #20
    “We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness.”
  5. #21
    “Even extreme grief may ultimately vent
    itself in violence--but more generally takes the form of apathy”
  6. #22
    “We live in the flicker -- may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But darkness was here yesterday.”
  7. #23
    “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.”
  8. #24
    “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.”
  1. #25
    “His face was like the autumn sky, overcast one moment and bright the next.”
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