Heart of Darkness – Ed. Goonetilleke – Third Edition

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Broadview Press, Jul 20, 2020 - Fiction - 344 pages

The first incarnation of this Broadview edition of Heart of Darkness appeared in 1995, the second in 1999; both were widely acclaimed, and the Goonetilleke Heart of Darkness remained for many years one of Broadview’s best-selling titles. For the third edition the book has been completely revised and updated to take account of the scholarship of the most recent generation. The introduction has been extensively rewritten, and the appendices of contextual materials thoroughly overhauled.

The two previous editions of the Goonetilleke Heart of Darkness included a substantial selection of documents on the history of Benin, ranging from excerpts taken from Olaudah Equiano’s eighteenth-century narrative to documents concerning the Benin massacre of 1897. Those documents concerning a neighboring Bantu society were included in large part because of the paucity of known late nineteenth-century documents concerning the Congo by black Africans—or indeed by black observers of any nationality. In place of those Benin-related materials, this new edition includes substantial excerpts from George Washington Williams’s Letter to Leopold II, as well as substantial excerpts from an extraordinary document not included in any other edition of Heart of Darkness (but discussed extensively in two ground-breaking twenty-first century works of scholarship, David Van Reybrouck’s Congo: The Epic History of a People and Maya Jasanoff’s The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World): the autobiography of Disasi Makulo. Makulo grew up near the shore of the Congo River in the 1880s and early 1890s, was enslaved by notorious ivory dealer Tippu Tip, and then was taken under the wing of Henry Morton Stanley. Makulo’s account—substantial excerpts of which are here translated into English for the first time—opens an unprecedented window on life in the equatorial forest of the Congo in the late nineteenth century.

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About the author (2020)

D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke is Professor Emeritus at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka; his other books include Joseph Conrad: Beyond Culture and Background (St. Martin’s Press) and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (Routledge).

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