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Conrad: Heart of Darkness
In this course, Professor Robert Hampson (Royal Holloway, London) explores Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. We begin by providing some of the historical context of the novel, focusing both on Conrad's own experiences as a seaman, as well as on the activities of Leopold II and the Belgians in the Congo Free State. In the second module, we think about the use of a frame narrative in the novel, before moving on in the third module to focus on the figure of Marlow. In the fourth module, we think about the figure of Kurtz – the gradual revelation of his character as one moves though the novel, his journal, and his enigmatic final words ('The horror! The horror!'). In the fifth module, we think about the theme of light and darkness in the novel, and the ways in which Conrad destabilises the conventional mapping of these categories onto 'civilized' and 'savage', before turning in the sixth module to the ways in which Heart of Darkness represents more than simply an autobiographical account of Conrad's own experiences in the Congo.
In this module, we introduce some of the historical context for Conrad's Heart of Darkness, focusing in particular on Conrad's own career as a seaman, as well as the activities of Leopold II and the Belgians in the Congo Free State.
Cite this Lecture
Hampson, R. (2018, August 15). Conrad: Heart of Darkness - Historical Context [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/conrad-heart-of-darkness-03c23bab-13c8-4af2-b284-c60a9bd104bf/light-and-darkness
Hampson, R. "Conrad: Heart of Darkness – Historical Context." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://massolit.io/courses/conrad-heart-of-darkness-03c23bab-13c8-4af2-b284-c60a9bd104bf/light-and-darkness
Royal Holloway, London