Conrad In The Heart Of The Apocalypse

In February 1899, that is 118 years ago, Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad (born as Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski) wrote his masterpiece “Heart of Darkness”. Conrad is considered one of the greatest novelists who wrote in the English language. And yet, he picked up English in his late 20s and, after moving to England, chose this language for writing.

Conrad didnâ’t get much of a formal education, but nonetheless left the school with a knowledge of Latin, German and Greek, as well as flawless French alongside his native Polish, both of which he spoke without any accent. He once had this to say: “English is so plastic â” if you havenâ’t got a word you need you can make it, but to write French you have to be an artist.” Conrad has influenced many writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Gabriel García Márquez, John le Carré, and Salman Rushdie.

“Heart of Darkness” is a novel in which Conrad used his own experiences from the days he spent in a Belgian trading company to create a story about Charles Marlow, and ivory trader Mr Kurtz. In a wonderfully told story, Conrad makes a parallel between two places of darkness – England and Africa.

This novel is a timeless story, which was proven by its echo in other media. Surely the most famous example is the cult classic Vietnam-settled film “Apocalypse Now”, by Francis Ford Coppola, with Marlon Brando in one of his most memorable roles. Also, a more recent example is a video-game “Spec Ops: The Line” which follows the same narrative, but the heart of darkness here is the sand-covered Dubai.

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The novel “Heart of Darkness” made Chinua Achebe, father of modern African literature, to argue that Joseph Conrad was actually a racist. The best advice is, read the book and judge for yourselves.

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