Heart of Darkness has not only inspired but has also provoked heated controversy. Once seen as an attack on the brutalities of European colonialism, it can also be read as a colonialist project in its own right. This volume explores the many dimensions of Conrad's work, looking at it in historical, literary, and cultural contexts, and examining both its artistry and its themes.
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is perhaps the most influential novel by one of the twentieth century’s most esteemed and influential novelists. Conrad's work is valued for its themes as well as for its innovative literary methods.
For all these reasons and more, this latest contribution to the Critical Insights series may be of special interest to many readers. A collection of four critical contexts essays are intended to treat Conrad’s novella (1) from a historical vantage point, (2) in terms of its critical reception, (3) using a specific critical lens, and (4) by comparing and contrasting it with other important works. This section opens with an essay by editor Robert C. Evans that uses Sidney Hinde’s The Fall of the Congo Arabs to help situate Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in the context of colonialism. This is followed by a survey of critical reception, also by Robert Evans, and an essay by Amar Acheraïou, closely and critically examining ethics and colonial power in Conrad’s work. Joseph R. Lease closes this section by using a comparative approach to continue the discussion on Heart of Darkness, particularly in comparison to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Next comes the Critical Readings section of this book, which contains the following essays:
- “The Grey High Cube of Iron”: Conrad’s Manuscript Shadow Text of Heart of Darkness, David Mulry
- Heart of Darkness: Continuing Problems, Cedric Watts
- Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Herbert Ward’s Five Years with the Congo Cannibals, Robert C. Evans
- The Symbiotic Relation between Colonizer and Colonized: A Contrapuntal Reading of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Pei-Wen Clio Kao
- Chart of Darkness: Cognitive Mapping in Marlow’s Quest for Kurtz, Nicolas Tredell
- To Make You Hear and See: The Aural and Visual in Heart of Darkness, Nicolas Tredell
- The Parable of Kurtzland: Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as a Metaphysical Dystopia, Guido Laino
- Problems of Closure in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, Gene M. Moore
- Nicholas Roeg’s Filmed Heart of Darkness: A Survey of Reviews, Yolanda York
- Polish Literary References in Heart of Darkness and The Secret Agent, Jean M. Szczypien
- Images from the Congo Region from the Time of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Herbert Ward, Victor Perard, and W.B. Davis
In the final section, Resources, a Chronology of Joseph Conrad’s Life and a list of other Works by Conrad are provided. Also included in this volume is a Bibliography, biographies of the Editor and Contributors, and an alphabetical Index.
The Critical Insights Series distills the best of both classic and current literary criticism of the world’s most studies literature. Edited and written by some of academia’s most distinguished literary scholars, Critical Insights: Heart of Darkness provides authoritative, in-depth scholarship that students and researchers will rely on for years. This volume is destined to become a valuable purchase for all.