Transcript of "Heart of Darkness - Topical/Historical"
“Heart of Darkness is experience ...pushed a little (and only very little) beyond the actual facts of the case.” - Joseph Conrad
Inspiration A Novella written in England between 1898 to1899, Heart of Darkness was inspired by JosephConrad’s own personal journey into the Congo in1890. It had been Conrads boyhood dream todiscover the heart of Africa—now that he hadarrived he described what he found as "the vilestscramble for loot that ever disfigured the historyof human conscience." Conrad later added, "AllEurope contributed to the making of Kurtz.“Thestory is central to Conrads work and vision, and itis difficult not to think of his Congo experiencesas traumatic.
Publication Heart of Darknesswas originally serializedin Blackwood’smagazine in 1899, andlater published by J.M.Dent & Sons in 1902 inthe volume Youth: ANarrative.
• The “Scramble for Africa” – battle between European nations for wealth and power in which countries competed in colonizing Africa
• Only interested in gaining wealth, European Nations didn’t care how it was gained nor who was killed for it.• As many as six million Africans died during the brutal rubber trade, overseen by the Belgians.
• Many Africans were forced to be "carriers," for people on jungle expeditions that need to move cargo or smuggle ivory from one place to another.
• The issue of class – According to Jared Campbell, a historian who has written extensively on the British class system, the origin of the class system is land.
• Racism – Readers are often dismayed by racist language found in the novella. – You have to remember that in 1890, when Conrad did his trip up the Congo River, things were different. – The word "nigger," like Negro, Niger, and the archaic slang word "neger," come from the Latin root for black.