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English 1022 Lecture on Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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Western University
English 1022E
David Bentley

Heart of Darkness 1. Symbolists - suggestiveness, reflexivity, epater le bourgeouis 2. Blackwood’s Magazine 3. Subject position “scramble for Africa” - Leopold II “...thousands have made the greatest impression by appealing to some vague dream of glory, or empire, or nationality. The ruder sort of men -- that is, men at ONE stage of rudeness -- will sacrifice all they hope for, all they have, THEMSELVES, for what is called an idea -- for some attraction which seems to transcend reality, which aspired to elevate men by an interest higher, deeper, wider than that of ordinary life.” - “The English Constitution” - p.2347: language is problematic because if someone says they’ve seen a tree you don’t know exactly what kind if it isn’t described; different for everyone - Surrealist obsession with dreams. Freud dreams. - When you’re telling a story, you have to assert that you’re a truthful person, or we can’t believe you. Marlow asserts that he isn’t a liar, but says that it isn’t possible to convey exactly what you mean. - Prior to telephone, a disembodied voice was impossible. - epater de bourgeois - irritate middle class - Victorians wanted a happy ending in books, and clarity. They didn’t want to be left baffled. - Blackwood’s Magazine - middle class debated issues of the day; Conrad publishes Heart of Darkness, this inconclusive novel to this magazine. What was he trying to get across? - Idea of Imperialism - Conrad wants to address this to the lawyers, accountants that read the magazine. - Imperialism was at its’ height here. - An economic imperative underlies
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