A definitive Arabic translation of Joseph Conrad's masterpiece Heart of Darkness by Hani Yared (Yarid), a Jordanian media critic, editor and producer who dabbles in literary translation. The first edition of the translation, which came out in Irbid, Jordan in 1998, has been reviewed favorably in various Arabic newspapers and literary magazines across the Arab World. Among other literary English works that Yared has translated is The Great Gatsby (2008). Yared is based in Doha, Qatar where he has been working for Al Jazeera Media Network since 2004.
Heart of Darkness follows one man’s nightmarish journey into the interior of Africa. Aboard a British ship called the Nellie, three men listen to a man named Marlow recount his journey into Africa as an agent for the Company, a Belgian ivory trading firm. Along the way, he witnesses brutality and hate between colonizers and the native African people, becomes entangled in a power struggle within the Company, and finally learns the truth about the mysterious Kurtz, a mad agent who has become both a god and a prisoner of the "native Africans." After "rescuing" Kurtz from the native African people, Marlow watches in horror as Kurtz succumbs to madness, disease, and finally death. Marlow’s decision to support Kurtz over his company leaves readers wondering about his moral integrity, and possibly asking the question: "He did WHAT?!" The novel closes with Marlow’s guilt-ridden visit to Kurtz’s fiancée to return the man’s personal letters.
Hani did a competent translation of a masterpiece thus enabling Arabs who could not enjoy the original because of language problems. I have seen him toil over the book for months and consult linguists and critics over this and that aspect of the translation and I'm glad that the book enjoyed raving reviews
“Heart of Darkness remains one of the most honest representations of the brutality that accompanied the ‘scramble for Africa’. In fact it goes beyond that brutal period of imperial greed in time, and in space, beyond Africa itself. Its publication was a moment of utter intellectual honesty, which at the time was almost unparalleled. For Hani Yared to be able to bring that work back to life, without taking away from its genius, is a masterful effort deserving of great praise. Not just that; Yared has elaborated, through his well-articulated and researched notes, in a way that has enriched this great Western novel with a viewpoint that is tailored specifically to the Arab reader. This unquestionably important addition made the Arabic translation of the novel, even for those who read the original version, a unique and enlightening experience. Add to this Yared’s ability to capture the intended meaning of the words through this clever use of the Arabic language, which preserved the original value of the text, a challenging task in any translation. Yared has done the Heart of Darkness great justice, and with this effort, has enriched the translated works at Arabic libraries. Yared deserves to be commended, and congratulated.”