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Conrad: Heart of Darkness

4. Kurtz: 'The horror! The horror!'

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About this Lecture


In this module, we continue thinking about the character of Kurtz, focusing in particular on his famous final words: 'The horror! The horror!'


In this course, Dr Keith Carabine (University of Kent) explores Joseph Conrad's 1899 novella, Heart of Darkness. The course begins by thinking about Conrad's own experiences in Africa, as recorded in his 'Personal Record' (1912) and 'Geography and Some Explorers' (1924), as well as the narrative form of the novel – an oral tale told by Marlow to a group of anonymous friends. In the second module, we look more closely at Marlow, focusing in particular on the scene in which he arrives at the Company Station, before moving on in the third and fourth modules to explore the character of Kurtz – looking first at his journal, which ends with the line 'Exterminate all the brutes!', and then at his famous final words in the novel, 'The horror! The horror!' In the fifth and final module, we turn to the ending of the novel, in which Marlow lies to the Intended about Kurtz's final words – 'The last word he pronounced was – your name.'


Keith Carabine did a Ph.d in American Studies at Yale, 1964-67 and has been at the University of Kent ever since, teaching English and American Literature (1967-2005), and is now a Senior Honorary Research Fellow. He has been a Committee member of the Joseph Conrad Society (G.B.) sine 1986 and was the Chair-person from 1996-2015. He has been the General Editor of Wordsworth Classics since 1994, and has edited several volumes, including The Selected Stories of Joseph Conrad.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Carabine, K. (2018, August 15). Conrad: Heart of Darkness - Kurtz: 'The horror! The horror!' [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Carabine, K. "Conrad: Heart of Darkness – Kurtz: 'The horror! The horror!'." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,