In this pair of literary voyages into the inner self, Joseph Conrad has written two of the most chilling, disturbing, and noteworthy pieces of fiction of this century. Heart of Darkness
, which first appeared in Blackwood's Magazine
in 1902, makes a devastating comment on the corruptibility of humankind. Based on Conrad's own 1890 trip up the Congo river, the story is told by Marlow, the novelist's alter ego. It is a journey into darkness and horror - both literally, as the narrator descends into a sinister jungle landscape, and metaphorically, as he witnesses the depths of the moral depravity symbolised by the agent Kurtz.
Another voyage into the self occurs in The Secret Sharer, the tale of a young sea captain's first command as he sails into the Gulf of Siam - and into an encounter with his 'double', the Jungian shadow self of the unconscious mind.