"Heart of Darkness" has been considered for most of this century as a literary classic, and also as a powerful indictment of the evils of imperialism. It reflects the savage repressions carried out in the Congo by the Belgians in one of the largest acts of genocide committed up to that time. Conrad's narrator encounters at the end of the story a man named Kurtz, dying, insane, and guilty of unspeakable atrocities.
Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. In 1874 Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice. In 1886 he obtained British nationality. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, "Almayer's Folly", in 1895. The following year he settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as - "Youth", "Heart of Darkness", "Lord Jim", "Typhoon", "Nostromo", "The Secret Agent" - and "Under Western Eyes". He continued to write until his death in 1924.