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Conrad's Congo

The Folio Society's "Conrad's Congo". Introduced by J. H. Stape. Preface by Adam Hochschild. Bound in cloth. Blocked with a design by Neil Gower. Set in Minion. 256 pages. Frontispiece and 16 pages of sepia and black & white plates and some integrated diagrams. ***************************************** As captain of a paddle-steamer on the Congo River, under the employ of the Société Anonyme Belge, in 1890, Joseph Conrad fulfilled his childhood dream of visiting Central Africa, soon realizing, however, that the colonial enterprise was 'the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience and geographical exploration'. The journey proved formative in his development as a writer and the creation of Heart of Darkness. It is a journey explored in this new exclusive collection from The Folio Society. Conrad's 'Up-river Book', the ship's log in which he recorded his six-week journey aboard the Roi des Belges, is central to this story, and is framed by his 'Congo Diary', recording the eight months he spent in the Congo Free State. Interspersed with these texts are his letters to family and friends. The short story 'An Outpost of Progress' is also included. As Adam Hochschild writes in his preface, 'The raw materials in this volume may help us better understand the mixture of temptations, illusions, hopes and experiences that were the building blocks of Conrad's genius'. Conrad expert J. H. Stape, who advised on the compilation of the collection and provided linking passages, has written a new introduction. Conrad's hand-drawn diagrams from his diary and the original 'Up-river Book' accompany a series of photographs from the archives at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, which has an extensive collection of photographs of the Congo from the period that Conrad was there.


Republic of Congo (89)