Class 2.1

Imperial Rhetoric

As a lead-in to the next essay, two fairly brief HW assignments (minimal writing, anyway).


Re-read “The White Man’s Burden.” What 3-6 word phrase best captures Kipling’s conception of empire? Put that quotation in a comment, below. (But reload this page and read what others have already posted, so as to avoid duplication.)


Heart of Darkness is considerably longer and more complex than Kipling’s poem. Efforts to isolate the rhetoric of Empire in Conrad’s novel face the challenge that different characters in the book have differing concepts of both the goals and methods that the imperial project should adopt.

For HW, I’d like you to quote a passage where a character (Marlowe? Kurtz? the Manager of the Middle Station?), explicitly or implicitly expresses a notion as to why European men should go to Africa. In a comment below, post the passage, along with the character associated with that view. Once again, reload the page before posting, so as to avoid duplication.

[spoiler title=’In Class: Virgil, Aeneid’] Virgil, Aeneid, Bk 6. 1129-1137 (in the Mandelbaum translation):

For other peoples will, I do not doubt,
still cast their bronze to breath with softer features,
or draw out of the marble living lines,
plead causes better, trace the ways of heaven
with wands and tell the rising constellations;
but yours will be the rulership of nations,
remember, Roman these will be your arts:
to teach the ways of peace to those you conquer,
to spare defeated peoples, tame the proud.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title=’In Class: Bath Abbey’] [/spoiler]

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