Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Heart Of Darkness, a novel in three parts (first published in 1902) written by Joseph Conrad centers around Marlow, a pensive English sailor who journeyed on an assignment from a Belgian trading company to the Congo River in Africa (Conrad, albeit, does not spell out the name of the river, the internal evidences point that out) as a ferry-boat captain.


When Conrad wrote the novel (during the latter part of the 19th century) the British were at the helm of their imperial power having colonies around the world, including India, Malaya, Hong Kong and much of Africa and also dominated over the Suez Canal, the East Coast of Africa, and the dominate to the source of the Nile. Achebe contends that Heart of Darkness sees Africa:
"as setting and backdrop which eliminates the African as human factor. Africa as metaphysical battlefield devoid of all recognizable humanity, into which the wandering European enters at his peril. Can nobody see the preposterous and perverse arrogance in thus reducing Africa to the role of props for the break-up of one petty European mind" (Achebe,1988, P. 12)
Achebe, in that essay, however, admits that both Marlow and Conrad are liberals of the "English liberal tradition which required all Englishmen of decency to be deeply shocked by atrocities in Bulgaria or the Congo of King Leopold of the Belgians or whatever" (P. 10). He also admits that Conrad is anxious not so much with Africa as with the decline of the Europeans mind caused by solitude and sickness. ...
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