The SNFCC Reading Club, hosted by the author Yannis Palavos, gets together for yet another meeting in September.
Book lovers renew their date for Monday, September 27, to talk about all things literary – or not! Inspired by the book of the month, the group of readers will come together once again to share their experiences, feelings and thoughts, make friends and exchange opinions.
September Book of the Month: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
A leading personality of English literature, Joseph Conrad (1857 – 1924) developed an entirely personal narrative style, using an elegant discourse invested heavily with irony and cynicism as a means to delve into the depths of the human psyche, and confront readers with philosophical, metaphysical and existential questions. On the threshold between Romanticism and Modernism, Conrad created characters that are unconventional, extreme, almost savage, and served as an influence for several of his subsequent fellow authors, such as Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, Henry James, etc. Ford Madox Ford was also a fan, and the two authors collaborated on the writing of two novels.
He was born in the Russian-ruled Ukraine to Polish parents, who were exiled for subversive action and died when he was 10 years old, whereupon his mother’s brother took over as his guardian. In 1874, he decided to join the navy and served on French and English merchant ships but, twenty years later, his great love for literature urged him to leave the sea behind and dedicate himself fully to writing. He was granted British citizenship in 1886.
Despite being fluent in German, French and English, Joseph Conrad chose to write in the language of his new country. His first published works initially captured the attention of his fellow authors and critics, before reaching the wider public. The publication of his debut novel, Almayer’s Folly (1895), is undoubtably the beginning of a remarkable literary opus, exemplified by works such as Lord Jim, The Mirror of the Sea, Youth, Under Western Eyes, Typhoon, The Nigger of the “Narcissus”, The Secret Agent and Victory.
Heart of Darkness (1902) is Conrad’s most important and most talked about book. It was first issued as a three-part serial story in the monthly “Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine” in 1899, and its plot served as the basis for the screenplay of Francis Ford Coppola’s award-winning epic film Apocalypse Now. The novella tells of an adventurous journey through the African jungle, which sweeps up the reader into a perilous exploration of the abyss of the human soul. The protagonist of Joseph Conrad’s masterpiece, which is littered with semi-autobiographical details, is Charles Marlow, the captain of a steamboat on a voyage up the Congo River. His mission is to take delivery of a shipment of ivory from Kurtz, a colonial businessman who trades beads and copper wire for the native’s ivory. During his time in Africa, Marlow faces a number of threats. But how does one distinguish between those that are visible and those that are invisible? How can he tell where the line lies between the power of man and the supremacy of nature? Between delusion and reality? How do we define civilization and savagery? Are the concepts of humanitarianism and colonialism compatible? And are the masks we wear, in fact, our true faces?
Yannis Palavos was born in Velvento, Kozani, in 1980. He studied Journalism at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Arts Administration at the Panteion University in Athens. He has written the short story collections True love and other stories (Intro Books 2007), Joke (Nefeli 2012), which received the State Literary Award for Best Short Story, and the Short Story Prize of the online literary journal O Anagnostis, and The child (Nefeli, 2019). Working together with Tasos Zafeiriadis, he wrote the script for the graphic novels The Corpse (Jemma Press 2011) and Gra-Grou (Ikaros 2017), illustrated by Thanasis Petrou; Gra-Grou received the prize for Best Comic and Best Script at the Greek Comics Awards. He also edited the republication of Athanasios Gravalis’ short stories Broken Columns (1930), as part of the “Prose Tradition” series by Nefeli Publishing (2019), and translated works by Tobias Wolff, Alden Nowlan, Breece D'J Pancake, Wallace Stegner, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, etc.
Monday 27/09, 18.30-20.30
Up to 27 participants
Free participation by online pre-registration
Preregistration starts on Monday 30/08 at 12.00.
Coordinator: Yannis Palavos, author
To join the Reading Club meetings, all registered participants are required to have read the book of the month.
Due to public health measures, there may be changes regarding either the staging of the event, or the maximum number of participants.
The use of face mask and social distancing measures are mandatory in indoor and outdoor areas of the SNFCC, in accordance with Hellenic National Public Health Organization regulations.