Heart of Darkness was first published serially in Blackwood's Magazine in February, March and April of 1899, and was reprinted in the United States the following year as an eight-part series in The Living Age (June 16-Aug. 4, 1900). It was revised before its first appearance in book form in Youth and Two Other Stories (1902). Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness began in his personal experience working on a Congo River steamer in 1890, five years after King Leopold of Belgium established the Congo Free State.
The Heart of Darkness has two storytellers: Joseph Conrad, the author, and the story's narrator, Marlow. The narration that takes place is mostly from Conrad's opinions. Conrad uses Marlow as the embodiment of all that he represents. He gives Marlow a similar boyhood experience. Marlow's career, like Conrad's, spans a significant period in history relations between Europe and Africa. During Conrad's time in 1860 and the 1870's, much of Africa was unknown to the Europeans.
Throughout Marlow's narrative there is no place where he wonder whether or not he's right or wrong, or if his opinion is biased. There is no way to verify his story, but yet Marlow assumes his readers will believe what he says is true. The story and its teller seem sincere. Marlow has become like Kurtz, a voice that craves to be heard by listeners. Kurtz and Marlow is the mouthpiece for Conrad. Conrad seems to question society, but not himself. Society recognizes the problems but it doesn't encourage the correction of the problems.
In Heart of Darkness, suggests bringing the light (Europeans) into darkness (Africa), the "civilizing" mission actually uncovers the "darkness" as its own heart. V.G. Kiernan saw Africa in this period to have, " became very truly a dark continent, but its darkness was one the invaders brought with them, the somber shadow of the European man." As in our time, Americans invaded Iraq; one would question, if instead of bringing the light and prosperity, did we bring more corruption and despair? .