Heart of Darkness (1902) by Joseph Conrad is considered by many to be one of the best novels written in the English language, a fact made all the more remarkable to me by the fact that Joseph Conrad wrote in not his first or second language but his third language, a language he learned after age 21. I would certainly agree that Conrad’s command of English is commendable. His writing is complex and his ability to create scene and convey emotion through mere words is truly remarkable.
The subject matter of his esteemed novella is more difficult for me to praise and relate to. A scathing critique of colonialism, Heart of Darkness can be read as both an exposé of the evils of imperialism and a rebuke of the hypocrisy of the Victorian morals. Further, it portrays an intensely negative view of human nature as purely self-interested and ignorant to the needs of others. It is a deeply uncomfortable book to read. Yet, I believe that as a historical work, it portrays a necessary perspective of turn-of-the-century internationalism.Continue Reading