Conrad’s famous novella is based on a real journey the author took up the Congo in 1890, during King Leopold II of Belgium’s horrific rule. It is a fantastic, imaginative journey to find a man named Kurtz who has lost his mind in the African jungle. It is a journey into inner space; a metaphorical investigation into the turbid waters of the human soul. It is a political journey into the dark heart of European colonialism. It is a nightmare journey, into horror. It is a journey to nowhere, set on a boat lying motionless and at anchor on the river Thames, which also “has been one of the dark places on the earth”.
What is American fiction? Actually, what is America? The answer to that is probably very different within the United States and outside. Asking yourself how others see you is a healthy exercise for any culture, and US books site Literary Hub did just that to mark the Fourth of July weekend, inviting non-American authors to suggest the quintessential American fiction titles.
Here’s my idea: the southern gothic is like a trusty bicycle. (Note: this is not simply because southerners talk too slowly for a car metaphor to work. It is instead a kinship in the way the two things are assembled and ornamented. Stay with me.)
This article by David Mitchell describes what it's like to have a child with autism. Speaking from personal experience, I can say the description is dead on.
Reading Shakespeare makes you smarter!
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