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Into the Darkness


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Title: Into the Darkness

Into the Darkness
  • HUM 2052 Civilization II
  • Spring 2013
  • Dr. Perdigao
  • March 19-21, 2014

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)
  • Born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in 1857 in
    Russia to Polish parents, patriots involved in
    Polish resistance, seeking to liberate Poland
    from Russia (1632)
  • Father, poet and translator, condemned for
    conspiracy in 1862 exile for family in northern
    Russia mothers death followed by fathers
    death lived with uncle
  • Joined British merchant marine, working on French
    ships went to England in 1878 to avoid
    conscription earned Masters Certificate in 1886
    and became British subject traveled to Far East
    and India
  • Learned English at age 21
  • Trip to Congo in 1890, resulting in psychological
    trauma (Perry 693)
  • Heart of Darkness (1899)

Politics and Darkness
  • In 1876, Leopold II of Belgium formed the
    International Association for the Exploration and
    Civilization of Central Africa
  • Henry Stanley sent to the Congo River Basin
    established trading posts, signed treaties with
    chiefs, claimed territory (Perry 667)
  • Stanley had led expedition to central Africa to
    search for David Livingstone (missionary-explorer)
    public feared to be in danger (667)
  • Opening of civilization, declared aim of
    development but ended up being used for resources
    (including rubber and ivory) named Congo Free
    State, became Belgian colony in 1908, ending
    private enterprise and exploitation (667)

Conrads Darkness
  • Point of view
  • Marlow
  • Frame-tale
  • The Lawyer, the Accountant, the Director (1634)
  • Nellie
  • The conquest of the earth, which mostly means
    the taking it away from those who have a
    different complexion or slightly flatter noses
    than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you
    look into it too much. What redeems it is the
    idea only. An idea at the back of it not a
    sentimental pretence but an idea and an
    unselfish belief in the ideasomething you can
    set up, and bow down before, and offer a
    sacrifice to. . . (1636)
  • Underground Man, Frankenstein, Waltondesire for
  • Fresleven
  • I should think the cause of progress got them,
    anyhow (1638)

Conrads Darkness
  • I was thinking of very old times, when the
    Romans first came here, nineteen hundred years
    agothe other day . . . Light came out of this
    river since . . . We live in the flickermay it
    last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But
    darkness was here yesterday (Conrad 1635).
  • It was the farthest point of navigation and the
    culminating point of my experience. It seemed
    somehow to throw a kind of light on everything
    about meand into my thoughts (1637).
  • the changes take place inside, you know
  • Craniometry, physical anthropology in 19th and
    20th centuries, problematic theories about racial
    difference, although Darwin used it earlier as a
    basis for his studies on the origins of the
  • Craniometry is a basis of phrenology, a
    pseudoscience, developed by Franz Joseph Gall in
    1796, that studies behavior and character,
    propensity for criminal activity (biological
    determinism) I felt I was becoming
    scientifically interesting (1647)
  • Dead in the centre (1639) I felt as though,
    instead of going to the centre of the continent,
    I were about to set off for the centre of the
    earth (1641).
  • Eldorado Exploring Expedition (1655)

Deconstructing Kurtz
  • Chief Accountant, Kurtz as first-class agent
    and remarkable person (1646)
  • Brickmaker The chief of the Inner Station. . .
    He is an emissary of pity, and science, and
    progress, and devil knows what else (1651)
  • Harlequin, Russian, worship of Kurtz Kurtz as
  • Lacking restraintnatives, Kurtz
  • Save me! . . . Ill carry my ideas out yetI
    will return. Ill show you what can be done
    (1679) I was on the threshold of great things
  • Marlow on Kurtz his unextinguishable gifts of
    noble and lofty expression (1685) He was a
    remarkable man (1686)
  • Companys request for Kurtzs papers, in the
    name of science (1687)
  • Kurtzs cousin, sees Kurtz as musician as
    painter who wrote for the papers, or else for a
    journalist who could paint cousin couldnt tell
    him what he had beenexactly, a universal
    genius (1688)
  • Journalist emphasizes his politics

Apocalypse Now
  • Then I noticed a small sketch in oils, on a
    panel, representing a woman, draped and
    blindfolded, carrying a lighted torch. The
    background was sombrealmost black. The movement
    of the woman was stately, and the effect of the
    torchlight on the face was sinister. (Conrad
    1651) brickmakers painting
  • International Society for the Suppression of
    Savage CustomsExterminate all the brutes!
  • His was an impenetrable darkness. I looked at
    him as you peer down at a man who is lying at the
    bottom of a precipice where the sun never shines
    (Conrad 1685).
  • I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had
    been rent (Conrad 1686).

On Beauty, Women
  • Spinners of Fate
  • Aunt
  • Its queer how out of touch with truth women
    are. They live in a world of their own, and
    there had never been anything like it, and can
    never be. It is too beautiful altogether, and if
    they were to set it up it would go to pieces
    before the first sunset (1641).
  • The Intendedpreservation of beauty, woman
    Theythe women I meanare out of itshould be
    out of it. We must help them to stay in that
    beautiful world of their own, lest ours get
    worse (1669)
  • Kurtzs mistress She was savage, and superb,
    wild-eyed, and magnificent there was something
    ominous and stately in her deliberate progress

  • The most you can hope from it is some knowledge
    of yourselfthat comes too latea crop of
    unextinguishable regrets (1686).
  • Since I had peeped over the edge myself, I
    understand better the meaning of his stare, that
    could not see the flame of the candle, but was
    wide enough to embrace the whole universe,
    piercing enough to penetrate all the hearts that
    beat in the darkness. He had summed uphe had
    judged. The horror! (1686)
  • It would have been too darktoo dark altogether

Postcolonialism and Civilization
  • Chinua Achebe, from Named for Victoria, Queen of
  • At the university I read some appalling novels
    about Africa (including Joyce Carys much praised
  • Mister Johnson) and decided that the story we had
    to tell could not be told for us by anyone else
  • matter how gifted or well intentioned.
  • Although I did not set about it consciously in
    that solemn way, I now know that my first book,
  • Fall Apart, was an act of atonement with my past,
    the ritual return and homage of a prodigal son.
  • 2394)
  • from Things Fall Apart (1958)
  • Turning and turning in the widening gyre
  • The falcon cannot hear the falconer
  • Things fall apart the centre cannot hold
  • Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . .
  • --W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming
  • The Commissioner went away, taking three or four
    of the soldiers with him. In the many years in

From T. S. Eliots The Hollow Men
  • Mistah Kurtzhe dead.
  • The Hollow Men
  • A penny for the Old Guy
  • I
  • We are the hollow men
  • We are the stuffed men
  • Leaning together
  • Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
  • Our dried voices, when
  • We whisper together
  • Are quiet and meaningless
  • As wind in dry glass
  • Or rats feet over broken glass
  • In our dry cellar

  • . . . .
  • In this last of meeting places
  • We grope together
  • And avoid speech
  • Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
  • Sightless, unless
  • The eyes reappear
  • As the perpetual star
  • Multifoliate rose
  • Of deaths twilight kingdom
  • The hope only
  • Of empty men.
  • . . . .
  • This is the way the world ends
  • This is the way the world ends