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

Joanna Pypłacz

Abstrakt
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
References

Original Texts

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

------------, Congo Diary and Other Uncollected Pieces, ed. and comments by Z. Najder, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company.

------------, Tales of Unrest, ed. A. Simmons, J. H. Stape, Cambridge & New York: Cambridge UP, 2012.

------------, 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.

 

 

 

 

Studies

“An Interview with J. Conrad” [in:] Conrad Under Familial Eyes, ed. by Z. Najder, H. Carroll-
Najder, Cambridge-London-New York-New Rochelle-Melbourne-Sydney: Cambridge UP, 1983, pp. 196-200.

Bowers, T., “Conrad’s ‘Aeneid’: ‘Heart of Darkness’ and the Classical Epic”, Conradiana 2006, no. 38(2), pp. 115-142.

Conrad, J., Youth; Heart of Darkness; The End of the Tether, ed. O. Knowles, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.

Eco, U., The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts, Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1979.

Feder, L., “Marlow’s Descent into Hell”, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 9, no. 4 (Mar., 1955), pp. 280-292.

Fletcher, K. F. B., Finding Italy: Travel, Nation and Colonisation in Vergil’s ‘Aeneid’, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014.

Forcellini, E., Totius Latinitatis lexicon, Londini 1828, vol. 2.

Galef, D., “On the Margin: The Peripheral Characters in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”, Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 17, no. 1 (Summer, 1990), pp. 117-138.

Johnson, W. R., Darkness Visible: A Study of Vergil’s ‘Aeneid’, Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1976.

Kosek, K., “Wpływ polskiej szkoły galicyjskiej (1868-1874) na umysłowość i kulturę literacką Josepha Conrada”, Rocznik Komisji Historycznoliterackiej 1988, no. 25, pp. 49-82.

Kumar Ray, M., Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’, New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers, 2006.

Lacoue-Labarthe, P., The Horror of the West [in:] Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ and Contemporary Thought, ed. N. Lawtoo, London-New Delhi-New York-Sydney: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012, pp. 111-122.

Paccaud-Huguet, J., “‘The Broken Phrases’: The Conradian Voice Effect”, Yearbook of Conrad Studies (Poland) 2007, vol. 3, pp. 53-66.

Paschalis, M., Virgil’s Aeneid: Semantic Relations and Proper Names, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997.

Poliakoff, M., “Vergil and the ‘Heart of Darkness’: Observations on a Recurring Theme”, Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, Third Series, vol. 2, no. 1 (Winter, 1992), pp. 73-97.

Schnauder, L., Free Will and Determinism in Joseph Conrad’s Major Novels, Amsterdam & New York: Brill, 2009.

Schneider, L., Conrad’s Narratives of Difference. Not Exactly Tales for Boys, New York & London: Routledge, 2003.

Tutein, D. W., Joseph Conrad’s Reading: An Annotated Biography, Bruington, VA: Locust Hill Press, 1990.

Watts, C., Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’: A Critical and Contextual Discussion, Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2012.

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