How Is Jameson’S Criticism Of Conrad’S Politics Relevant To Heart Of Darkness


Answers ( 3 )

Q&A Session

    How Is Jameson’S Criticism Of Conrad’S Politics Relevant To Heart Of Darkness

    Heart of Darkness is a novel by Joseph Conrad that tells the story of a European sailor who travels to Africa and becomes involved in the quest for a valuable diamond. One of the main criticisms of Heart of Darkness is that it propagates racism. Jameson writes: “The malignantly clever Mr. Conrad, who is one of the few white authors to have ventured into the heart of darkness, has written about a degenerate race which he calls the ‘Nigger’ with all the casual amicability of a man describing the behaviour of some noxious vermin.” In this article, we explore how this criticism is relevant to Heart of Darkness and whether or not it is accurate.

    Jameson’s Criticism of Conrad’s Politics

    Jameson’s criticism of Conrad’s politics is relevant to Heart of Darkness because it provides a critique of colonialism and imperialism. He argues that Conrad romanticizes the life of the adventurer, and does not critically examine the effects of imperialism on those who are colonized.

    The Heart of Darkness

    “Heart of Darkness” is a novel written by Joseph Conrad that tells the story of Marlow, an Englishman who travels up the Congo River in search of a route to the sea. While on this journey, Marlow becomes disillusioned with civilization and its supposed values. In particular, he criticizes the way European governments treat their citizens.

    Criticism of European government is a common theme in “Heart of Darkness.” For example, Marlow criticizes the Belgian government for mistreating its people and for not being willing to change. Similarly, he criticizes the British government for its practice of sending colonists to Africa without properly training them.

    This criticism is relevant to “Heart of Darkness” because it shows how Marlow’s disillusionment with civilization influences his view of the world. For example, when Marlow meets a group of cannibals, he assumes that they are just like other Europeans because they are also cruel and sadistic. However, when he later learns more about them, he realizes that they are actually different from Europeans in important ways.

    This illustrates how Marlow’s negative view of Europeans is shaped by his experience on his journey up the Congo River. This is why Conrad’s criticism of European politics is relevant to “Heart of Darkness.”

    Is Jameson right to criticize Conrad?

    Jameson’s critique of Conrad’s politics is relevant to Heart of Darkness because it exposes the hypocrisies that underpin Conrad’s work. Jameson argues that Conrad romanticizes colonial rule and promotes a Eurocentric view of the world. This is evident in the way he depicts Africa as a place of primitive savagery and primitivism, which serves as a foil to European civilization. In this way, Conrad perpetuates imperialist views and justifies colonialism. Similarly, his depiction of Kurtz as a noble savage also reinforces prevailing notions about racial differences and superiority.

    By critiquing these elements of Conrad’s work, Jameson allows readers to see them for what they are – self-serving illusions designed to justify colonialism and white supremacy. By doing so, Heart of Darkness can be seen in a more accurate light, which can make it more relevant to contemporary issues.


    Jameson’s criticism of Conrad’s politics is relevant to the heart of darkness because it speaks to Conrad’s attitudes about imperialism, colonialism, and race. The critique also shows how Conrad uses elements of horror and violence to explore these topics.


    Jameson’s criticism of Conrad’s politics in Heart of Darkness is still relevant today as political ideologies continue to be debated. In his work, Jameson argues that the novel serves as a representation for European imperialism and the scramble for African resources during the 19th century. He further suggests that this narrative provides an insight into how the West views Africa through its own tainted lens.

    The notion of power, control and domination by Europeans over Africa is clearly visible throughout Heart of Darkness. From Marlow’s expedition upriver to Kurtz’s obsession with attaining ivory, it highlights how colonial forces sought to exploit African resources. This is not only relevant to current debates surrounding colonialism but also accounts for some of today’s global power imbalances between African countries and those in the West. Thus, Jameson’s criticism remains pertinent in our ever-changing world.


    Jameson’s criticism of Conrad’s politics in Heart of Darkness is still relevant today, even if the book was written over a century ago. In the novel, Heart of Darkness, Conrad tells the story of Marlow, a man who goes on a journey up the Congo River in search of the mysterious Kurtz. As he travels, Marlow discovers the horrors of colonialism and the effects it has on the native people of the land.

    Jameson, a prominent literary critic in the 20th century, was particularly critical of Conrad’s political views on colonialism. He argued that Conrad’s representation of Africa and its people was “imperialistic, racist, and exploitative”. He also suggested that the novel was an example of “European self-aggrandizement at the expense of the African continent”.

    Today, Jameson’s criticism is still relevant. The effects of colonialism are still felt around the world, particularly in Africa, where the consequences of exploitative policies are still seen. Moreover, this is an issue that has been highlighted once again in recent years, as the world has grappled with the ongoing struggle for racial justice.

    The themes of power, exploitation, and racism that Conrad explored in Heart of Darkness are still relevant today. These are issues that have been brought to light in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as other struggles for racial justice. Moreover, they are themes that will continue to be explored in literature, film, and other forms of art for years to come.

    Ultimately, Jameson’s criticism of Conrad’s politics in Heart of Darkness is still relevant today. The book serves as a reminder of the legacy of colonialism and racism, and the urgent need to address these issues in our society today. 🤔

Leave an answer