Joseph Conrad • In his work Judea, Conrad calls into question the English’s belief in Manifest Destiny Manifest Destiny: the divine right of a superior race to rule a civilization seen as being lower on the scale of evolution
Heart of Darkness • The novella was written in just five weeks, “Giving vent to a rush of pent-up language and emotion as the experiences in the Congo almost ten years before resurrected themselves in his imagination” (p. 24).
The Year of 1900 • Author Stephen Crane dies of tuberculosis. • Crane’s last letter is an appeal for Conrad to be considered for the Civil List, which would give him a guaranteed annual income as a writer. • Conrad meets J.B. Pinker, a literary agent who becomes Conrad’s client for 20 years • Blackwood’s magazine concerned that Conrad’s views are not “Tory” enough
Lord Jim: The Novel • Secures Conrad’s literary reputation • Highpoint of literary modernity • Structurally broken into two parts: • Chapters 1-20: the story of Jim aboard the Patna • Chapters 21-45: the romance of Jim in Patusan • The novel is noted for its doubling and mirror reflections: the Jim of the Patna and “Tuan” or Lord Jim, the young Jim and Conrad himself.
“Falk,” the novella • A tale of cannibalism • Protagonist Falk confesses that he had been driven to eat human flesh while onboard a stranded ship • “For Conrad, Falk represented the epitome of a somewhat primitive man whose main preoccupation and supreme moral law is the preservation of his own life” (p. 25).
Short story “Amy Foster” • Written entirely outdoors in May and June • Another example of a framing tale narrated by a village doctor. • The only work by Conrad where the protagonist is a Pole.
Mirror of the Sea • Worked with Ford Maddox Ford on his collection of memoirs • The memoirs contained Conrad’s collected reminiscences as a sailor, a subject Ford believed would be of great interest to Conrad’s reading public.
“Autocracy and War” Essay • Conrad’s first important political essay • Surveys the Russo-Japanese War, indulging his hated of Russia to argue that, “might…has vanished for ever at last, and…there is no new Russia to take the place of that ill-omened creation” (.p. 27). • Conrad incorrect about Russia’s power, but he correctly condemned Germany as an emergent force against peace in Europe • These ideas form the ideological foundation for his novels: “The Secret Agent,” and “Under Western Eyes”
Under Western Eyes • Novel is considered to be one of the most autobiographical of his fictions • Allows him to return to his personal and emotion confrontation with Russia • “The need to wrestle with the Russian demon haunting him since childhood would send Conrad into a tailspin, costing him friendships and, for a time, his sanity” (p. 28). • Narrative is doubled • Invites the reader into the tortured conscience of the protagonist Razumov
Arrow of Gold • “recreates Conrad’s presumed participation in gun running and smuggling in the 1870s and takes the form of two notes by an anonymous narrator which frame a narrative presented as an edited memoir” (p. 30).
Historical Context of Heart of Darkness • Roger Casement’s knowledge of the widespread abuse and atrocities committed in King Leopold’s private colony the Congo Free State • Casement’s report to the British Parliament, “offers an unanswerable indictment of abuse. Casement records story after story, told to him by children, of the murder of their parents and younger siblings and of their own mutilation” (p. 32)
Historical Context Cont. • Story of Camille Delcommune at the top of page 32, column 2 • “Because of the extreme measures taken by the Congo State to force the natives to collect rubber, Casement was forced to conclude that the African population of the area of Lake Mantumba alone had diminished by 60 percent” (p.32)
Historical Context Cont. • Edmund Morel, a French journalist, began a campaign in weekly magazines to expose information he’d learned at the Belgian docks • By examining the cargoes of ships going to and coming from Belgium to the Congo, Morel discovered that Leopold was loading then with guns, explosives, and chains. Ships returning from the Congo brought rubber and ivory.
Historical Context Cont. • Conrad points to the pride of advancements by explorers such as Mungo Park, Livingstone, Burton, and Speke in his essay “Geography and Some Explorers”
Characters in “Heart of Darkness” • The Anonymous Narrator: frames and shapes Marlow’s tale • Invites the reader into the narrative as an additional listener to the take and breaking into Marlow’s narrative to return the reader to a time closer to the present than the time within Marlow’s tale • The narrator, a double or alter-ego of Conrad himself, takes the position that Conrad would have had on the real Nellie
Director of Companies • Based on Conrad’s friend G.F. W. Hope who owned a small yacht named Nellie • Hope and Conrad met in a ship agent’s office in London and forged a friendship that lasted for the rest of Conrad’s life • “Trustworthiness Personified”
The Accountant • Character based on one of Hope’s friends, either named Keen or Mears. • Information about storytelling, card playing, and games on dominoes played on the Nellie.
The Lawyer • “best of old fellows” • Most likely Hope’s friend Mears • Needs “the only cushion on deck”
Marlow • The inner narrator of the framed tale • Another double and alter-ego of Conrad himself • Appears as the narrator in three of Conrad’s other works: “Youth,” Lord Jim, and Chance. • Quote on bottom of page 38 • Reinforces how real some of his fictional characters were to Conrad, particularly Marlow
The Agent • Based on Conrad’s relative by marriage, Marguerite Poradowska • Poradowska uses her influence in Brussels after Conrad has a favorable interview with Albert Thys
Fresleven • Based on real Johannes Freiesleben, the Danish captain of the Florida, who is murdered in the Congo,
Knitting Women • Greek Fates who personify destiny • Direct reference to Roman history when Marlow imagines himself greeting the older woman in Latin which is the salutation with which Roman gladiators greeted the Roman emperor before their battle to the death.