Study Guide

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad in New Historicism

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is about a journey into the Congo at the height of colonialism in the nineteenth century. It’s a controversial book, to say the least. It’s beautifully written, but there are a lot of problematic depictions of Africa and Africans in there.

The passage below describes the Thames River, that famous one that runs through London. If we read it from a New Historicist perspective, we can see that it’s telling us a lot about Britain’s colonial history. So here we go: