Heart of Darkness and the fear of going native

Anna Reid




This article studies Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness (1899-1902) within the context of Imperial Gothic. It examines the darkness behind Empire and will highlight late-Victorian fears concerning Otherness and degeneration. It addresses the silence both within the narrative and within the Imperial mission. There is no dialogue, just Marlow’s monologue. Marlow voyages up the river Congo, to a prehistoric time populated by primitive people; nevertheless he also voyages into the heart of the European man and his fear of turning ‘savage’.


Imperial Gothic; Conrad; Degeneration; Darkness; Other

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5007/2175-8026.2012n62p55

Copyright (c) 2012 Anna Reid

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