Conrad-Heart of Darkness
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Conrad-Heart of Darkness






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Conrad-Heart of Darkness Conrad-Heart of Darkness Presentation Transcript

  • Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  • Entering Africa
    • P. 8
    • Morituri te salutant..We who are about to die, salute you. Said by the Roman gladiators as they passed by the emperor on their way to battle.
  • Devils (13)
    • Former devils:
      • Described as: strong, lusty, red-eyed
      • Devils of violence, greed, and desire
    • Current devils:
      • Described as: flabby, pretending, weak-eyed
      • Devils of rapacious and pitiless folly
      • Reappears on p. 17
  • Kurtz
    • The painting: p.21
    • Moving up the ranks: p. 22-23
    • Kurtz’s mission: p.29
  • Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski
    • Born in Polish Ukraine
    • Age 16: joined the French merchant marine
    • Age 21: Joined the British merchant naviy. His naval experiences provided material for his writing and he traveled widely in the colonies held by the British and other European empires.
  • Conrad as early modernist
    • The novelist T.E. Lawrence called him “a giant of the subjective.”
    • “ Droll thing life is—that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself—that comes to late—a crop of unextinguishable regrets.” - Conrad
  • Victorian vs. Modernist
    • Generally unquestioning attitude toward imperialism  Victorianism
    • Critiquing imperialism  Modernism
  • Structure of the novel
    • Narrator within narrator; story w/in a story
    • Marlow is the secondary narrator
    • The narrator is an unnamed member of the crew; Marlow tells his story to this unnamed “I”
    • Device has been used by many other writers:
    • Mary Shelley in Frankenstein
    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge in “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
  • Story within a story
    • The external story frames parallels to a great degree the internal story
      • Two rivers:
        • Thames and Congo
      • Two colonial histories:
        • Colonization of England by invading Romans
        • Colonization of Africa by the Belgians and British
  • Rives Thames
    • “…the great spirit of the past upon the lower reaches of the Thames.”
  • Sir John Franklin
    • Explorer seeking the chart of the Northwest Passage
    • Ships were the Erebus and the Terror
    • Expedition disappeared; now we know they died of starvation and scurvy.
  • Narrative within a narrative
    • Effect of multiple narrators is to create what the African author and literary critic Chnua Achebe calls a “cordon sanitaire”: a quarantine border that keeps a sanitary distance between the ethically and…
  • “Darkness was here yesterday”
    • Savagery
    • Wilderness
    • Forest  jungle  hearts of men
    • Incomprehensible= Detestable
    • Incomprehensible
  • Reading Conrad
    • Two opposing views of Conrad:
      • Conrad endorses the “civilizing mission” of imperialism. Narrator-Marlow=Conrad
      • Conrad critiques the blindness and cruelty of colonial practices. Narrator-Marlow, is an ironic commentator who represents the psychology of the imperial nature.
  • Charges against the novel
    • Racist
    • Sexist
    • Imperialist
  • 1975: Chinua Achebe describes Conrad as “a bloody racist”
    • Achebe’s charge comes in the midst of a shift in models of literary criticism:
      • The old “new criticism”: the text as a whole in itself
      • The new “new criticism”: the text as a product of social forces and reflective of those forces.