Joseph Conrad is among the most admired of modern authors, and Heart of Darkness has proved a crucial and controversial text in the 20th century. This powerful and disturbing book functions on many levels- as an adventure story, a metaphysical thriller, a modernist detective tale, a mythical journey, a philosophical meditation, an indictment of imperialism, a reinforcement of racism and sexism, and an exploration of the human condition. It is a text which has challenged and compelled generations of readers and critics. In this Icon Critical Guide, Nicolas Tredell introduces and sets in context the major debates about a work which has generated an impressive range of interpretations. The critics assembled here discuss Heart of Darkness in terms of myth, philosophy and politics; analyse its complex narrative technique and style; and interrogate its attitudes to Empire, its images of Africa and its representations of women. Examining secondary sources from the 1900s to the 1990s, this Guide is an indispensable resource for the study of one of Conrad's most potent works.