Author: Margreta Grigorova
St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo
Published in: Slavyanski dialozi, XI, 2014, 15, 88-109
Abstract: The present text reveals how the topos Heart of Darkness, created by the English writer Joseph Conrad, related to his grim journey to Belgian Congo could be examined in the context of many other texts dedicated to this African country. In the last decades of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century, it became an object of an international scandal, which arose in connection with the uncovered crimes associated with the colonial policy of the Belgian king Leopold II. Roger Casement and Edmund Morel were the first to publish announcements about that in the media. In the first decade of the 20th century Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle wrote pamphlets. Conradʼs novel (1899) is related to this, too. In some of the following texts about Belgian Congo one could trace signs of influence of Conrad`s eminent work and elements of paraphrase. Conrad`s influence could also be found for instance in the diary of André Gide, who vis- ited Congo in 1926. In the 1930ʼs the Polish reporter Kazimierz Nowak travelled across Africa and visited Belgian Congo. In 1960 Ryszard Kapuściński (a great admirer of Conrad) accomplished a journalistic mission in Congo and described his experience in several of his books. The dark mythology of this African state could be traced in the novel of Hugo Claus The Rumours (1996) as well. Mario Vargas Liosaʼs novel The Dream of the Celt, where we meet Conrad and Casement cast as the main characters, also resembles „heart of darkness“. All the evidence suggested above shows that the image of Congo – „heart of darkness“ – has created its own unfolding record, to-be-continued.
Key words: Heart of Darkness, Belgian Congo, „record to-be-continued“, Henry Stenley Morton, Joseph Conrad, Roger Casement, Edmund Morel, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, André Gide, Kazimierz Nowak, Ryszard Kapuściński, Hugo Claus, Mario Vargas Llosa