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Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad, first published in 1902. The story centres on Charles Marlow, who narrates most of the book. He is an Englishman who takes a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a river-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the dark side of European colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters: the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the Europeans' cruel treatment of the African natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil. Joseph Conrad (born J zef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski(3 December 1857 - 3 August 1924) was a Polish novelist who wrote in English, after settling in England. Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, though he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties . He wrote stories and novels, often with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of an indifferent universe. He was a master prose stylist who brought a distinctly non-English tragic sensibility into English literature.