Free Audio Book: Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Read by British Actor Hayward Morse


Select­ed by the Mod­ern Library as one of the 100 best nov­els of all time, Joseph Con­rad’s Heart of Dark­ness was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished as a three-part ser­i­al sto­ry in Black­wood’s Mag­a­zine in 1899, then lat­er as a novel­la in the 1902 col­lec­tion Youth: A Nar­ra­tive; and Two Oth­er Sto­riesA com­plex and con­tro­ver­sial “med­i­ta­tion on colo­nial­ism, evil, and the thin line between civ­i­liza­tion and bar­bar­i­ty,” Heart of Dark­ness gained lit­er­ary stature dur­ing the 1950s and 1960s, before peak­ing in the late 1970s–precisely around when Fran­cis Ford Cop­po­la released Apoc­a­lypse Now, a film loose­ly based on Con­rad’s tale. What halt­ed the novel­la’s momen­tum was a sting­ing rebuke from Chin­ua Achebe, father of mod­ern African lit­er­a­ture, who crit­i­cized the way it “projects the image of Africa as ‘the oth­er world,’ the antithe­sis of Europe and there­fore of civ­i­liza­tion…”

Despite the con­tro­ver­sies sur­round­ing the text, Heart of Dark­ness remains wide­ly read in Amer­i­can high schools and uni­ver­si­ties. And, notes Harold Bloom, it has “had a strik­ing influ­ence on writ­ers, artists, and thinkers from all over the globe.” Below, you can lis­ten to a read­ing of Heart of Dark­ness by British stage and voice actor Hay­ward Morse. It’s free on Spo­ti­fy and will be added to our list, 1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free. In Novem­ber, Ken­neth Branagh will release his own version–which you can down­load for free if you join’s 30 free tri­al pro­gram. Oth­er free read­ings of Con­rad’s novel­la can be found on Lib­rivox.

Relat­ed Con­tent

Orson Welles Turns Heart of Dark­ness Into a Radio Dra­ma, and Almost His First Great Film

See the Orig­i­nal Mag­a­zine Pub­li­ca­tion of Heart of Dark­ness and Oth­er Great Works by Joseph Con­rad

800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Dav Ant Bar says:

    Thank you for pro­vid­ing the link to this pub­lic domain audio book on lib­rivox. Makes a has­sle-free alter­na­tive to installing the adver­tis­ing-laden ’30 days free’ ver­sion of the spo­ti­fy app. I do won­der how much rev­enue spo­ti­fy must gen­er­ate from play­ing cuck­oo on this kind of already freely avail­able mate­r­i­al.

  • Malte says:

    On lib­rivox is woman read­ing with high-pitched voice, which in com­bi­na­tion with the con­tent of the book pro­duces an Mon­ty Python like effect, so I think I resign rather this time…

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.