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Paul Wake

2 Heart of Darkness and death I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be. (Joseph Conrad, Heart of

in Conrad’s Marlow
Cultural readings of race, imperialism and transnationalism

This book analyses black Atlantic studies, colonial discourse analysis and postcolonial theory, providing paradigms for understanding imperial literature, Englishness and black transnationalism. Its concerns range from the metropolitan centre of Conrad's Heart of Darkness to fatherhood in Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk; from the marketing of South African literature to cosmopolitanism in Achebe; and from utopian discourse in Parry to Jameson's theorisation of empire.

British Travelogues, 1850–1900

Works of travel have been the subject of increasingly sophisticated studies in recent years. This book undermines the conviction with which nineteenth-century British writers talked about darkest Africa. It places the works of travel within the rapidly developing dynamic of Victorian imperialism. Images of Abyssinia and the means of communicating those images changed in response to social developments in Britain. As bourgeois values became increasingly important in the nineteenth century and technology advanced, the distance between the consumer and the product were justified by the scorn of African ways of eating. The book argues that the ambiguities and ambivalence of the travellers are revealed in their relation to a range of objects and commodities mentioned in narratives. For instance, beads occupy the dual role of currency and commodity. The book deals with Henry Morton Stanley's expedition to relieve Emin Pasha, and attempts to prove that racial representations are in large part determined by the cultural conditions of the traveller's society. By looking at Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, it argues that the text is best read as what it purports to be: a kind of travel narrative. Only when it is seen as such and is regarded in the context of the fin de siecle can one begin to appreciate both the extent and the limitations of Conrad's innovativeness.

Imperial Fantasies for a Post-Colonial World
William Hughes

In an age of Imperial confidence, the social rhetoric of Victorian Britain frequently manifested a perceptible unease when considering cultural problems within the home nation. The imagery of ‘darkest England’, dependant as it was upon a powerful colonialist discourse, authorised and transmitted a register of language whereby an internal Other might be configured as uncivilised, and thus capable of being subject to the explorer and the missionary. Much, of course, has already been written upon the Gothic possibilities of this phenomena which characterised an Imperial age which allegedly declined with the nineteenth century. No similar consideration, however, has yet been made of its continuation into the twentieth century, a progressively post-colonial era in which the Imperial (or Imperialised) Other, in consequence, functions differently. This article considers two Gothic short stories, one in a reprinted Edwardian collection, the other a component of an original collection, both of which were issued in volume form in the late 1940s. The two narratives examine classic ‘cultures-within-cultures’, pockets of resistance within the fabric of the Imperial nation, though in a cultural context radically different from their Victorian predecessors. Algernon Blackwood‘s ‘Ancient Sorceries’ (1908), published in the 1947 reprint of his John Silence, and L.T.C. Rolt‘s ‘Cwm Garon’ published in Sleep No More (1948) share a preoccupation with the casual, localised, travelling which has replaced Imperial adventure, and with the decline of identifiable Christian institutions and landmarks themselves the products of earlier missionary activity in a familiar, though threatening, European landscape. In both short stories a form of devil worship is enacted before the eyes of the traveller, and in a landscape which fascinates and somehow holds him. In ‘Ancient Sorceries’, where the Devil does attend the bacchanal, the protagonist is almost seduced into willing participation but, on evading the sexual lure of the sabbat, vows never to return. Rolt, writing after the recent horrors of the Second World War, discards the presiding Devil in favour of a mortal substitute, but still leaves open the possibility that, in Kilvert‘s words, ‘an angel satyr walks these hills’. Neither welcomed nor seduced by the satanic community, Rolts protagonist finds himself fascinated by the land, and thus drawn into unwilling participation. In colonial terms, these two narratives explore the frequently rehearsed dangers of ‘going native’ that lie at the core of, among other works, Kipling‘s ‘The Mark of the Beast’, Rider Haggard‘s She and Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness. A subject people is identified, but their strength either supernatural or merely cultural, the ability to preserve a distinctive and resistant way of life tests the limits of the perceiving power. These are, in a sense, Imperial fantasies for a post-colonial world, a reflexing of colonised culture back in upon the formerly colonising nation.

Gothic Studies
Mel Bunce

’, in Bunce , M. , Franks , S. and Paterson , C. (eds), Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century: From the ‘Heart of Darkness’ to ‘Africa Rising’ ( London : Routledge ), pp. 129 – 31 . Barthes , R. ( 1977 ), Image/Music/Text ( New York : Hill and Wang ). Bunce , M. , Scott , M. and Wright , K. ( forthcoming ), ‘ Humanitarian Journalism ’, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Journalism Studies ( Oxford : Oxford University Press

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Tim Youngs

Nine years after the controversy of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition and nine years after Conrad’s own journey to the Congo, 1 Heart of Darkness was published. This novella has been described as ‘the most over-interpreted literary text of the last hundred years’, 2 so a little more interpretation surely can’t do much harm. For the benefit

in Travellers in Africa
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‘Youth’ and the oral tradition
Paul Wake

1 Marlow: ‘Youth’ and the oral tradition For a long time already he, sitting apart, had been no more to us than a voice. (Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness) Marlow: character or narrator? The description of Marlow given in the Oxford Reader’s Companion to Conrad, distilling, as it does, decades of critical discussion, provides a useful place from which to begin a study of his role, its authors tell us: He has often been seen as Conrad’s autobiographical alter ego, since his narratives are based on Conrad’s own experiences in the ill-fated Palestine (‘Youth’) or

in Conrad’s Marlow
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Kipling’s secret sharer
Norman Etherington

supposed political opinions that have led so many scholars to set him apart from the rest of the imperial artists. Conventional opinion opposes Rudyard Kipling the imperialist to Joseph Conrad the anti-imperialist. Just as Kim occupies the first rank among ‘novels of empire’, Heart of Darkness heads almost every list of literary critiques of colonialism. Some of Conrad’s closest friends shared the

in Imperium of the soul
Open Access (free)
The imperial metropolis of Heart of Darkness
Laura Chrisman

chapter1 21/12/04 11:07 am Page 21 1 Tale of the city: the imperial metropolis of Heart of Darkness Many decades ago, in Discourse on Colonialism, Aimé Césaire drew attention to the ‘boomerang effect’ of imperialism. His account suggests that the boomerang operates at two speeds. The fast boomerang returns as soon as it is dispatched: the brutal dehumanisation to which the colonised are subjected is immediately visited upon the coloniser, leading Césaire to the conclusion that ‘colonization … dehumanizes even the most civilized man: that the colonizer, who

in Postcolonial contraventions
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Robert H. MacDonald

happens afterwards? Who holds the Empire and guards it? Who does the dirty work? Who sweeps the colonies ‘clean,’ who keeps the savages in order? Heart of darkness The self-contained fictions of going out, discovering, and returning had as their counterparts more episodic accounts of dealing with trouble on the spot, just as the explorations of

in The language of empire