“To Boldly Go”: Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and popular culture.

Dryden, Linda (2002) “To Boldly Go”: Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and popular culture. Conradiana: A Journal of Joseph Conrad Studies, 34 (3). pp. 70-149. ISSN 0010-6356

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Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1899) is a text that has consistently resisted analytic closure. That is to say that its relevance to the twentieth century (and now the twenty-first century) is apparent through the allusions to the story in our media and culture. As each new "horror" of the postmodern world emerges, Heart of Darkness acquires new meanings that extend its relevance beyond the imperial boundaries of the Belgian Congo of the 1880s and '90s, and bring to Conrad's vision a shockingly contemporary pertinence. Francis Ford Coppola realized the adaptability of what Conrad was trying to convey when he filmed Apocalypse Now in the 1970s: innumerable media references to Heart of Darkness have ensued, some inspired by Coppola's film, but many also inspired by renewed interest in Conrad's text. In this discussion I will draw attention to the variety of ways that Heart of Darkness has been used in our popular culture, and suggest that there is a broader interdependence between popular culture and some of our most valued literary products. I will argue that literature, and Conrad's novella in particular, have a large role to play in the postmodern erasure of the divide between "high culture" and "low culture."

Item Type: Article
Print ISSN: 0010-6356
Uncontrolled Keywords: Joseph Conrad; Heart of Darkness; postmodern; "high" culture; "Low" culture; popular culture; Apocalypse now; cultural allusion; Francis Ford Coppola; interdependence;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Arts & Creative Industries
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 800 Literature > 820 English & Old English literatures
Library of Congress Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Item ID: 2276
Depositing User: RAE Import
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2008 10:03
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2015 10:40

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