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Nearly forty years ago and long before the Heart of Darkness ‘craze’, Ford Madox Ford foretold the critical fate of Conrad’s
novella. He noted that it ‘gained when it was written a certain vividness from its fierce lashings at the unspeakable crew that
exploited the natives in the Congo,’ and predicted that when ‘imperialismv’ anished,a nd by imperialismh e meant ‘spoliationo f
subject races’, the ‘masterpiece will then stand by its poetry.’l Although imperialism remains, by Ford’s criteria if not by Lenin’s and Hobson’s, literary critics have neglected imperialism and have transformedt he novellai nto a timelessm yth aboutt he exploration
of the human soul and the metaphysical power of evil.
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