When Conrad began to write the novella, eight years after returning from Africa, he drew inspiration from his travel journals. Then later, inHeart of Darkness was included in the book Youth:
See Article History Alternative Title: During his lifetime Conrad was admired for the richness of his prose and his renderings of dangerous life at sea and in exotic places.
To Conrad, the sea meant above all the tragedy of loneliness. A writer of complex skill and striking insight, but above all of an intensely personal vision, he has been increasingly regarded as one of the greatest English novelists.
He was arrested in late and was sent into exile at Vologda in northern Russia. In A Personal Record Conrad relates that his first introduction to the English language was at the age of eight, when his father was translating the works of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo in order to support the household.
Responsibility for the boy was assumed by his maternal uncle, Tadeusz Bobrowski, a lawyer, who provided his nephew with advice, admonitionfinancial help, and love.
In Conrad left for Marseille with the intention of going to sea. Life at sea Bobrowski made him an allowance of 2, francs a year and put him in touch with a merchant named Delestang, in whose ships Conrad sailed in the French merchant service. His first voyage, on the Mont-Blanc to Martiniquewas as a passenger; on its next voyage he sailed as an apprentice.
On this voyage Conrad seems to have taken part in some unlawful enterprise, probably gunrunning, and to have sailed along the coast of Venezuela, memories of which were to find a place in Nostromo. Conrad became heavily enmeshed in debt upon returning to Marseille and apparently unsuccessfully attempted to commit suicide.
As a sailor in the French merchant navy he was liable to conscription when he came of age, so after his recovery he signed on in April as a deckhand on a British freighter bound for Constantinople with a cargo of coal.
After the return journey his ship landed him at Lowestoft, Englandin June Conrad remained in England, and in the following October he shipped as an ordinary seaman aboard a wool clipper on the London—Sydney run.
Conrad was to serve 16 years in the British merchant navy. In June he passed his examination as second mate, and in April he joined the Palestine, a bark of tons.
This move proved to be an important event in his life; it took him to the Far East for the first time, and it was also a continuously troubled voyage, which provided him with literary material that he would use later.
He returned to London by passenger steamer, and in September he shipped as mate on the Riversdale, leaving her at Madras to join the Narcissus at Bombay. At about this time Conrad began writing his earliest known letters in the English language.
Her captain was John McWhirr, whom he later immortalized under the same name as the heroic, unimaginative captain of the steamer Nan Shan in Typhoon. He then joined the Vidar, a locally owned steamship trading among the islands of the southeast Asian archipelago. The task was interrupted by the strangest and probably the most important of his adventures.
Using what influence he could, he went to Brussels and secured an appointment. He suffered psychological, spiritual, even metaphysical shock in the Congo, and his physical health was also damaged; for the rest of his life, he was racked by recurrent fever and gout.
He made several more voyages as a first mate, but bywhen his guardian Tadeusz Bobrowski died, his sea life was over. It was as the author of this novel that Conrad adopted the name by which he is known: In Conrad married the year-old Jessie George, by whom he had two sons.
He thereafter resided mainly in the southeast corner of England, where his life as an author was plagued by poor health, near poverty, and difficulties of temperament.
It was not untilafter he had written what are now considered his finest novels—Lord JimNostromoThe Secret Agentand Under Western Eyesthe last being three novels of political intrigue and romance—that his financial situation became relatively secure. His novel Chance was successfully serialized in the New York Herald inand his novel Victory, published inwas no less successful.
Though hampered by rheumatismConrad continued to write for the remaining years of his life. In April he refused an offer of knighthood from Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonaldand he died shortly thereafter. His reputation diminished after his death, and a revival of interest in his work later directed attention to different qualities and to different books than his contemporaries had emphasized.
An account of the themes of some of these books should indicate where modern critics lay emphasis. The ambitions range from simple greed to idealistic desires for reform and justice. Full of contempt for the greedy traders who exploit the natives, the narrator cannot deny the power of this figure of evil who calls forth from him something approaching reluctant loyalty.
Victory describes the unsuccessful attempts of a detached, nihilistic observer of life to protect himself and his hapless female companion from the murderous machinations of a trio of rogues on an isolated island.
In every idealism are the seeds of corruption, and the most honourable men find their unquestioned standards totally inadequate to defend themselves against the assaults of evil. It is significant that Conrad repeats again and again situations in which such men are obliged to admit emotional kinship with those whom they have expected only to despise.
This well-nigh despairing vision gains much of its force from the feeling that Conrad accepted it reluctantly, rather than with morbid enjoyment.
He is the novelist of man in extreme situations. It rests, notably, among others, on the idea of Fidelity.The cruelty and squalor of imperial enterprise contrasts sharply with the impassive and majestic jungle that surrounds the white man’s settlements, making them appear to be tiny islands amidst a .
Joseph Conrad (Polish: who led international opposition to King Leopold II's rule in the Congo, saw Conrad's Heart of Darkness as a condemnation of colonial brutality and referred to the novella as "the most powerful thing written on and Two Other Stories, "Falk": novella / story, written early ; collected only in Typhoon and.
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is set primarily in Africa and the narrator is of European descent, so of course there is the element of race in this story.
Marlow does not seem to be any more. Like many of Conrad's novels and short stories, Heart of Darkness is based in part upon the author's personal experiences.
In , after more than a decade as a seaman, Conrad requested the. Motifs: journey; darkness of civilization. Major Symbols: Kurtz; the Congo River; ivory; England. Movie Versions: Apocalypse Now () The three most important aspects of Heart of Darkness: Conrad intentionally made Heart of Darkness hard to read.
He wanted the language of his novella to make the reader feel like they were fighting through the jungle, just like Marlow fought through the jungle in . Heart of Darkness Novella by Joseph Conrad, The story reflects the physical and psychological shock Conrad himself experienced in , when he worked briefly in the Belgian Congo.