Title

Inscriptions of resistance in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Department

English

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

Journal of Modern Literature

Publication Date

2015-03-01

Volume

38

Issue

3

First Page

20

Last Page

37

Abstract

The possibility of native resistance to colonial tyranny and the threat of the loss of colonial "order" is a continual, sustained anxiety throughout Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness. Critics have largely ignored or downplayed these inscriptions of resistance in Conrad's text. Much of the criticism that surrounds this novella, according to Patrick Brantlinger, is focused on the European subjects of the text, and therefore renders Africa and its native peoples as a kind of backdrop. Literary critiques of Heart of Darkness that do discuss the African natives tend to portray them as victims rather than having any kind of agency. This latent fear of native resistance demonstrates the fantasy of stability and superiority endemic to imperialism: a narrative that the imperial administration must continually tell itself.

Keywords

Anxiety, Congo, Imperialism, Joseph Conrad, Resistance

DOI

10.2979/jmodelite.38.3.20

https://doi.org/10.2979/jmodelite.38.3.20

Share

COinS