• Reading Levels 3 - 5

Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness (1899) tells a story within a story in one of the most harrowing chapters of our history. It begins with Charles Marlow, a fictional seaman who recurs in several of Joseph Conrad’s works, telling his listeners of a colonial enterprise in the Belgian CongoThe Congo Free State was an area in Central Africa privately controlled by Leopold II of Belgium from 1885 to 1908, known today for infamous atrocities against local people. Afterwards, the Belgian Congo was a Belgian colony from 1908 until 1960. . His optimism for Africa’s “blank spaces” and the European project is quickly shattered when he comes eye-to-eye with the violent reality. It is a journey not, as he thought before, to a continent in the dark ages, but to the dark and beating heart of the West’s imperialRelating to an empire. evils. Written in just over two months, Heart of Darkness has been criticised widely for its racist depictions of colonised people, but remains a classic of modernity and an early dialogue with postcolonial ideas.

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