Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899)
Edition used: Broadview
Public domain version: Wikisource
“The story of Marlow travelling upriver in central Africa to find Kurtz, an ivory agent as consumed by the horror of human life as he is by physical illness, has long been considered a classic, and continues to be widely read and studied.” (Publisher’s Website)
There are two videos here. In 2014, Robert Crawford gave a full Arts One lecture on this text; in 2015 he gave half of the lecture time on this text (the other half was devoted to a lecture on the film Apocalypse Now, which you can see here).
Faculty: Rob Crawford
Lecture title: “White Skin, Black Masks?”
Lecture date: March 17, 2014
Faculty: Rob Crawford
Lecture title: “What or Where is the Heart of Darkness?”
Lecture date: March 9, 2015
Theme: Repetition Compulsion
Note: this lecture is just half of the usual time; the rest of the time was a lecture on Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.
A recording of the lecture with slides is on the UBC Media Site system.
The lecture without slides can also be found on YouTube:
- Mediasite (2014 lecture video plus slides)
See also Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now.
- Chinua Achebe says that Conrad does not provide enough of an outside frame of reference to enable the book to be read as ironic or critical of imperialism. Based on the evidence in the text, argue for or against Achebe’s assertion.
- What does a comparison of the lives and experiences of men and women in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness suggest about the novel’s representation of gender?
- What might Fanon say about Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and why?
- What is the significance of the narrative structure of Heart of Darkness in the context of its content? You could discuss, for example, the fact that Marlow is not the narrator of the story.
- “I take it, no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil: the fool is too much of a fool, or the devil too much of a devil–I don’t know which” (Conrad 123). Compare and contrast Mr. Kurtz and Doctor Faustus.
- Analyze one or more recurring images or motifs in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, discussing how this image or images contribute(s) to the story. For example, you could consider ivory, pilgrims, fences, inscrutability, dreams, rivets, disease, phantoms, darkness.
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