The Heart of Darkness Waqar Tariq

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The Heart of Darkness - 1899: 

The Heart of Darkness - 1899 by Joseph Conrad (1857 – 1924)


The Heart of Darkness The Plot The Author‘s Biography The Historical Context The Literary Significance


The Plot Anonymous narrator  'Thames + passengers' Marlow  appointment at the Company journey to Africa  Primary Company Station + 10 days: Secondary Company Station voyage to Kurtz’s station The Russian’s revelation meeting Kurtz + voyage back Kurtz’s Intended


The Author‘s Biography Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski (Poland, 1857) parents: Polish aristocrats  exile ('January Uprising') orphaned (age: 11)  uncle Tadeusz Bobrowski (Kraków) 1874: Marseilles  French merchant navy 1878: British merchant marine 1886: Master Mariner’s certificate + Br. Citizenship 1894: writing  'Almayer’s Folly' (1895) 1896: marriage with Jessie George  Kent next 15 years: 'Youth', 'Heart of Darkness', 'Lord Jim' etc. 1924 (age: 67): heart attack


The Heart of Darkness Influences: boyhood reading ( 'Travailleurs de la mer' – Victor Hugo) - map incident 1890: voyage to Congo  money + adventure  experiences barbarity - Historical conditions


The Historical Context New Imperialism  'Scramble for Africa' (1880-WWI) Congo River  last unexplored part of Africa  1867: Henry Morton Stanley‘s search for Dr. Livingstone  1878: return to Europe King Léopold of Belgium (colonial interests since 1850s)  gov.  'Geographical Conf. on Central Africa' (Brussels, 1876)  'International Association' 1878: Stanley recruited  cunning exploration Congo Crisis  'The Berlin Conference' (1884)  Congo Free State = The Stanley Pool


The Historical Context International Assocation -- 'terres vacant' policy Free Trade Zone (1/3) + 'Domaine Privé' (2/3)  'Force Publique'  1890s: Rubber boom  1908: Belgian annexation




The Literary Significance 1899: 'Blackwood's Magazine'  Imperialism/Colonialism (political) 'Six black men advanced in a file, toiling up the path. They walked erect and slow, balancing small baskets full of earth on their heads, and the clink kept time with their footsteps. Black rags were wound round their loins, and the short ends behind wagged to and fro like tails. I could see every rib, the joints of their limbs were like knots in a rope; each had an iron collar on his neck, and all were connected together with a chain whose bights swung between them, rhythmically clinking. (...) All their meager breasts panted together, the violently dilated nostrils quivered, the eyes stared stonily uphill. (...)They were called criminals, and the outraged law, like the bursting shells, had come to them, an insoluble mystery from over the sea. (...) After all, I also was a part of the great cause of these high and just proceedings.'


The Literary Significance  Psycho-analysis (philosophical) 'Watching a coast as it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma. There it is before you - smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering, ‘come, find out.'' (…)'But the wilderness had found Kurtz out early, and had taken on him a terrible vengeance for the fantastic invasion. I think it had whispered to him things about himself which he did not know (…) till he took counsel with this great solitude – and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him because he was hollow at the core.' Metaphors:  Journey Wilderness (Jungle, Congo River) andamp; Darkness …


The Literary Significance Kurtz: - 'a first class agent (ivory); a remarkable person' - 'Oh, he will go far, very far; will be a somebody in the Administration before long.' - 'He is an emissary of pity and science and progress, and devil knows what else.' - 'I wanted to talk with Kurtz. The gifted creature presented himself as a voice.' - 'His mother was half-English, his father was half-French. All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz.' - 'He had the power to charm or frighten rudimentary souls into an aggravated witch.' - 'You don't talk with that man--you listen to him. He made me see things.' - 'He discovered lots of villages. Plainly, he raided the country.' - 'He could be very terrible. You can't judge Mr. Kurtz as you would an ordinary man.' - 'Mr. Kurtz lacked restraint in the gratification of his various lusts, that there was something wanting in him.' - 'The wastes of his weary brain were haunted by shadowy images now.'

The Heart of Darkness: 

The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Sources:

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