Essay Title: 

History of interpretation in Heart of Darkness

April 3, 2016 | Author: | Posted in english literature, literature and language

Exploring the Interpretations of Conrad ‘s Heart of Darkness

Conrad ‘s Heart of Darkness is a novella that has the ability to summon numerous commentaries and interpretations . Considered by many as a fictional version of Conrad ‘s Congo experience as a sailor , it echoed his criticism of European imperialism over Africa . However , the obscure stance of Heart of Darkness — its curious referential indefiniteness which inevitably universalized its appeal– immortalized the cost of its final coherence . This is why , over the years , the interpretations of critics varied from being hailed as a [banner_entry_middle]

brutally honest portrayal of the exploitation and destruction wielded by the Belgians in Africa to acquiring pot-shots as an outright racist and sexist propaganda in the guise of criticism to colonialism . Thus , this will try to delve beyond the development of ideas sent out by literary critics on their interpretations of Conrad ‘s Heart of Darkness

Probably the most perceptive early criticism of Heart of Darkness is Edward Garnett ‘s anonymous review in Academy and Literature called Conrad ‘s novel a consurnate piece of artistic diablerie ‘ and the high-water mark of the author ‘s talent . To Garnett , Conrad ‘s close literary friend , the artistry of Heart of Darkness lies in the acutest analysis of the deterioration of the white man ‘s morale , when he is let loose from European restraint , and planted down in the tropics as an ’emissary of light ‘ armed to the teeth , to make trade profits out of the subject races . Other reviewers to deny Conrad ‘s assault upon imperialism by situating the novel firmly within the adventure tale genre or else associating Heart of Darkness with Kipling ‘s fiction , a comparison that particularly infuriated Conrad , in part because Kipling was the chief literary propagandist for colonial expansion . In psychological terms , Conrad seemed to have been selling himself to the British public in a form they would recognize by masquerading as a native English speaker he bids to assuage any lingering doubts about his own fluency . However , rather than viewing Marlow as a symptom of Conrad ‘s faltering self-confidence , he is seen as a transitional persona : he functions as Conrad ‘s passport to the mainstream of British literary culture , but also as a Trojan Horse ‘ figure , smuggling an outlandish literary voice into the conservative pages of Blackwood ‘s Magazine

No doubt , Conrad ‘s novella is quite difficult to read that British reviewers were a little daunted at the thought of assessing the essence of Conrad ‘s novel , for Heart of Darkness is , to this day , decidedly not reader-friendly . Its jumbled chronological structure , its distancing narrative framework , its domination by the obtrusive voice of Marlow as interior narrator , and its insistence on vague , superlative adjectives makes it hard for readers to clearly understand what Conrad describes particularly the elusive phantom of Kurtz — the object of Marlow ‘s nightmarish quest , who is buried deep in the recesses of the narrative

Another writer , Baker deemed that The Heart of Darkness is obviously symbolic . It is… [banner_entry_footer]

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