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Disciplines

Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

Abstract

In lieu of an abstract, below is the article's first paragraph.

Written between the years of 1898 and 1899, Joseph Conrad's famous novella, Heart of Darkness, fictionalized the historical reality of an area secretly steeped in colonial rule by the viciously greedy and cruel King Leopold II. Between the years of 1885 and 1908, the Belgian ruler transformed the African Congo into his personal empire by exploiting not only the Congo's natural resources (rubber and ivory), but also the Congolese Africans' slave labor. Joseph Conrad published Heart of Darkness in response to his own experiences while traveling in the Belgian Congo. For decades Heart of Darkness was hailed a literary masterpiece written with a critical attitude towards tl1e colonization of Africans by foreign powers, and especially the denunciation of Belgium's justified ownership of the Congo. However, during the twentieth century critical debates began to arise around the novella's narrator, Charles Marlow, and whether or not his view of the Africans is racist, and by extension, whether or not Heart of Darkness is a racist novella altogether that does not deserve the literary credit it has gained in the past.

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