Blackwood’s Magazine – 1899 cover. Conrad to create a parallel between London and Africa as places of darkness. English of heart of darkness year pdf year publication twentieth century. Conrad assumed command, guiding the ship to the trading company’s innermost station.
The story’s main narrator, Charles Marlow, is based upon the author himself. When Conrad began to write the novella, eight years after returning from Africa, he drew inspiration from his travel journals. Thus described, the subject seems comic, but it isn’t. Marlow—the narrator of the tales within the first two stories.
There have been many proposed sources for the character of the antagonist, Kurtz. Conrad’s steamer, has been identified by scholars and literary critics as one basis for Kurtz. After more than thirty days the ship anchors off the seat of the government near the mouth of the big river. Marlow, still some two hundred miles to go, now takes passage on a little sea-going steamer captained by a Swede. He departs some thirty miles up the river where his Company’s station is. Work on the railway is going on, involving removal of rocks with explosives. Marlow has to wait for ten days in the Company’s Outer Station, where he sleeps in a hut.
The agent predicts that Kurtz will go very far: “‘He will be a somebody in the Administration before long. Marlow departs with a caravan of sixty men to travel on foot some two hundred miles into the wilderness to the Central Station, where the steamboat that he is to captain is based. On the fifteenth day of his march, he arrives at the station, which has some twenty employees, and is shocked to learn from a fellow European that his steamboat had been wrecked in a mysterious accident two days earlier. He meets the general manager, who informs him that he could wait no longer for Marlow to arrive, because the up-river stations had to be relieved, and rumours had one important station in jeopardy because its chief, the exceptional Mr.
He fishes his boat out of the river and is occupied with its repair for some months, during which a sudden fire destroys a grass shed full of materials used to trade with the natives. While one of the natives is tortured for allegedly causing the fire, Marlow is invited in the room of the station’s brick-maker, a man who spent a year waiting for material to make bricks. Marlow gets the impression the man wants to pump him, and is curious to know what kind of information he is after. Marlow is fascinated with the sinister effect of the torchlight upon the woman’s face, and is informed that Mr. Kurtz made the painting in the station a year ago.