The Sinister Oracle. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Virgil’s Aeneid

Joanna Pypłacz

The aim of this article is to re-examine the links between Heart of Darkness and the Aeneid—the Latin epic which is already known to have served as the main hypotext for Joseph Conrad’s novella. The transformation of several important motifs—such as those of the sacrifice, white worsted, the ivory gate and, finally, that of the prophetic voice—reveals that Conrad has shifted the focal point of Virgil’s dark tale, placing the figure of the Oracle—who has been disguised and transformed in a highly sophisticated manner—to its very centre.
Słowa kluczowe: Heart of Darkness, Aeneid, Conrad, Virgil, oracle, Sibyl, Kurtz, katabasis, death, night

Original Texts

Conrad, J., Heart of Darkness and Other Stories, introd. and notes by G. M. Moore, Ware: Wordsworth Classics, 1999.

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------------, The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale, ed. with an introd. and notes by M. Newton, London: Penguin, 2007.

Homer, The Iliad: Volume I, Books 1-12, transl. by W. F. Wyatt, 2nd Edition, Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1924.

Virgil, Aeneid: Books 1-6, transl. by H. Rushton Fairclough, revised by G. P. Goold, Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1916.

Virgil, Aeneid: Books 7-12. Appendix Vergiliana, transl. by H. Rushton Fairclough. Revised by G. P. Goold, Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1918.






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