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Trilling: On Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

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Trilling on Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
In the analyses of both Trilling and Achebe, the merit of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is contemplated intricately. Unlike the accusatory criticism of Achebe’s essay which considers the novella an incompetent and offensive gesture that is unfit for canonical recognition, Trilling’s analysis wrests the various themes and implications of the story, greatly rendering the ambivalent dispositions of the characters and emphasizing the historic relevance and transcendence of the content. Subjective and insightful, Trilling’s knowledge of the subject and its legacy further justifies Conrad’s novella’s rightful location in the canon.
“A paradigmatic literary expression of the modern concern with authenticity,” Trilling considers the transcendence of Conrad’s novella as setting a barometer for antecedent publications, despite its non-polemic intentions. Referencing The Golden Bough (James George Frazier), a literary study of traditions, rights, and practices of early civilization, with regards to literature and psychology, and significant source for Classic Anthropology; Trilling considers Heart of Darkness to have been its inspiration. Trilling’s is offering up that the very essence of African culture and history is displayed in the pages of Heart of Darkness; more so when the temperance of both Kurtz and Marlow is contemplated. Achebe, on the other hand, declares the contrary. In criticizing the naiveté of an individual who does not acknowledge the existence of African history, he proposes that there is a very common “western desire” for Africa and its traditions to be a foil to Europe and its traditions, identifying the theme of Heart of Darkness when he states:
“What thrilled you was just...

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...and demeanour, and then continued to point out the influence of the novella on future and the transcendence of meaning over time, in contrast to Achebe’s criticism of the novel as an insensitive look at African Culture and roundabout way of dodging confrontation of human origin and assimilation to differing cultures. In this regards, Trilling provided a much more content-aware argument for the right of belonging that Conrad’s novella has to the Canon.

Works Cited
Achebe, Chinua. ""An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'" ." "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'" . W. W Norton and Co, 1988. Essay.
Conrad, Joseph. "Heart of Darkness and the Congo Diary." Heart of Darkness. 1899. Novella.
Trilling, Lionel. "Sincerity and Authenticity." n.d. Critical Essay.
—. "The Greatness of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"." n.d.
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