Imperialism And Colonialism In Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness

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Even though it was not well received upon its first publication in 1899 Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” is today regarded as one of the greatest literary accomplishments in modern history. Despite being a relatively short novel Conrad skillfully intersects different themes such as imperialism, colonialism and even power while at the same time being able to construct a well-developed narrative with an engaging story. In “Heart of Darkness” Conrad exposes the immorality of colonialism, the disgracefulness of British imperialism and the dark truth of human nature. This makes “Heart of Darkness”, in my mind, one of the most important works of fiction in modern history.

I will in this essay argue for Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” legacy as one of the most important literary works in modern history.

The reason for the book’s somewhat unfavorable response upon its publication was largely due to its criticism of imperialist Europe. In Great Britain this was especially ill received as the mindset during this time was in contrast of that which Conrad presents throughout the book. This, however, is partly what makes “Heart of Darkness” such an incredible accomplishment. It is, truly, the pinnacle of fictional social criticism. At this time Africa was often referred to as “the dark continent”. It was in Europe portrayed as a continent of savagery and barbarianism far inferior compared to the advanced, enlightened European civilizations. They manipulated the mindset
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