How Many Pages Is Heart of Darkness (& How to Read It in 77 Minutes)
How Many Pages Is Heart of Darkness

How Many Pages Is Heart of Darkness (& How to Read It in 77 Minutes)

How Many Pages Is Heart of Darkness

The Heart of Darkness is a 72-page controversial novel written in 1899. Typically, it would take an average reader at least 3 hours and 45 minutes to read it, but you can finish it in 77 minutes reading at a pace of 500 words per minute.

With themes like colonialism, racism, and savagery versus civilization, it’s no wonder this novel has become one of the most extensively studied pieces of English literature.

So, if you’re a student with comprehensive homework on this book, you might want to go through Heart of Darkness quickly. How about finishing it within 77 minutes?

In this blog post, we will take a quick look at what this book is about and discuss 13 valuable tips on how you can read this work of art faster. 

Let’s start.

About the book 

The Heart of Darkness is a novel by Joseph Conrad. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine initially published it in 1899, and it appeared in Conrad’s Youth: and Two Other Stories (1902). 

As a novel, it tackles the atrocities of Western colonialism. It illustrates how it affects the regions and populations it abuses and those in the West who support it.

Conrad presented this novel as a frame narrative (a story within a story). It recounts the story of Charlie Marlow, a then ferryboat captain who tells a group of men aboard a ship about his adventures and interactions among the African people. 

Charlie retells the story of his job as an ivory transporter down the Congo River. Marlow develops an intense interest in investigating Kurtz, an ivory-procurement agent. 

Later in the story, Kurtz becomes a revered deity by the locals. However, Marlow has another suspicion about Kurtz: he has become insane. 

The rest of the story revolves around Charlie and Kurtz’s moments together and how everyone around him appears to focus on the struggles of Western civilization.

Heart of Darkness was well-received within Conrad’s literary community. However, the novel failed to achieve widespread success. This book has not always received positive reviews from critics who object to its flippant attitude toward women and its demeaning portrayal of colonial people. 

Still, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has survived, and it now stands as a classic of Modernism firmly rooted in postcolonial reality.

How can you read the Heart of Darkness faster?

Now that you know what this novel is all about, it’s time to discuss how you can read it faster than usual:

Get an overview of the book

Knowing what the Heart of Darkness is about and gaining an idea about its most significant chapters can help you separate the pertinent portions of the novel from the unimportant ones. It also lets you decide which parts to spend most of your reading time on.

Establish focus

You know that Conrad’s novel has realistic and controversial themes. Hence, it requires complete concentration to read and understand, so you must avoid doing things that will take your focus out of it.

  • Sit in a quiet area away from distractions to create a chamber of focus for speed reading.
  • Avoid the possibility of being interrupted by coworkers, phone calls, or emails.
  • Don’t read while snuggling in bed.

Prioritize keywords

Scan the text to familiarize yourself and look for critical ideas. Try to identify patterns, main points, and supporting details. Also, take note of unfamiliar words and concepts.

Check for context clues

When you encounter a word you don’t know, try to guess its meaning from context clues. If that doesn’t work, look it up in a dictionary or online. Don’t stop to look up every word, or you’ll slow down your reading speed.

Use a guide

One way to read this book faster is by using a finger or pen to track your place on the page. Doing this helps you focus on the text and keeps you from having to look back and forth between the page and your notes. Additionally, reading multiple lines at once allows you to get through the text more quickly.

Read actively

Active reading helps you read faster because you are more engaged with the text. You can focus on the most critical information and understand what you are reading instead of just trying to get through it as quickly as possible.

Practice indenting

This method for reading more quickly trains your peripheral vision. Fix your eyes on the center of the sentence, particularly between the start and the end of a line.

Even if you fix your eyes on the middle section of the sentence, you will begin to feel as though your gaze is taking in the entire phrase. 

When you indent, you are effectively breaking up the text into smaller chunks, which makes it easier to process. 

Do not subvocalize

When you accidentally talk out loud while reading, you are subvocalizing. Most people have the habit of subvocalizing while reading, but this practice slows an individual’s reading speed because it takes time for your brain to speak the words you are reading.

Avoid rereading words

Many readers skim a few phrases while not paying attention, then take their time rereading them to be sure they understand them.

Most people end up going back over the text they’ve already read, but this slows down reading speed. As this practice has already become a habit, it becomes challenging for many people to overcome. 

Hold yourself accountable

It’s easier to maintain your reading and timed testing once you target how many pages you want to read in 5 minutes or within a certain period. Try to increase that number over time. Once you get there, don’t forget to treat yourself.

Use a marker

Simply insert an index card beneath each line and read while it slides down. Doing so will guarantee you read a line at a time rather than skipping about and consuming nothing.

Read purposefully

Reading with a purpose or goal in mind motivates you to keep reading.  Having a specific reason for reading makes it easier to stay focused, and you are more likely to remember what you read.

Use a speed reading tool 

While using one of these takes a little practice, this tool can help increase your reading speed. There are a lot of free speed reading tools today, and one of them is Accelareader

It’s a free, highly-customizable online tool that flashes text on the screen at your desired speed.

One Book, One Day challenge

This is day #8 of the One Book, One Day challenge. We’re going to speed read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad at 500 words per minute (WPM) using

Is 500 WPM Too Fast? Take Our Speed Reading Course To Keep Up!

See previous books in the 30-day Challenge

Here are the most common words in the book…

Speed Read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Book Stats:

Pages: 144

How Long To Read: 77 minutes (at 500 WPM)

Published: 1899

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness may be one of the most controversial novels ever written as it contains sensitive themes attached to the main character’s story. Hence, it’s no surprise how this book takes quite a while for the average reader to read and understand. 

However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to read and finish the entire novel fast. Some tips that readers can apply include the usage of speed reading tools and other practices for enhancing reading speed, like establishing focus, indenting, avoiding subvocalizing, and many others.

Try joining a speed reading course today to read and understand other books fast. Iris Reading also has other courses to choose from to improve other aspects of your life, like personal productivity and maximizing memory. Inquire now.

Paul Nowak

Paul is the founder of Iris Reading, the largest provider of speed-reading and memory courses. His workshops have been taught to thousands of students and professionals worldwide at institutions that include: NASA, Google, HSBC and many Fortune 500 companies.

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  • KP

    Book 8 complete. Whew!