Research Article

A Bakhtinian Reading of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness


  • Ashraf Abu Fares University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan


The purpose of this paper is to analyze Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness in line with Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism. Heart of Darkness is Conrad’s novel written in 1899, in which Marlow narrates the story of the voyage he took part in up the Congo River into the Congo State in Africa. This paper analyses Conrad’s text in relation to Bakhtin’s concept of polyphony to show how Conrad represents the various voices and discourses in the narrative through a dialogic pattern that serves to illustrate the thematic concern of the novel. The paper highlights how the voices and discourses that exist both within Marlow’s discourse as well in the other characters’ discourses work together to formulate Conrad’s stance on imperialism and his critique of its ideological manifestations.

Article information


International Journal of Literature Studies

Volume (Issue)

1 (1)





How to Cite

Abu Fares, A. . . (2021). A Bakhtinian Reading of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. International Journal of Literature Studies, 1(1), 05–09.



Conrad, Bakhtin, Heart of Darkness, polyphony, dialogism, imperialism