In this pair of literary voyages into the inner self, Joseph Conrad has written two of the most chilling disturbing, and noteworthy pieces of fiction of this century. Heart of Darkness, which first appeared in Blackwood's Magazine in 1902,makes a devastating comment on the corruptibility of humankind. Based on Conrad's own 1890 trip up the Congo river, the story is told by Marlow, the novelist's alter ego. It is a journey into darkness and horror-both literally, as the narrator descends into a sinister jungle landscape and metaphorically, as he witnesses the depths of moral depravity symbolized by agent Kurtz. Another voyage into self occurs in The Secret Sharer, the tale of a young sea captain's first command as he sails into the Gulf of Siam0and into an encounter with his "double" the Jungian shadow self of the unconscious mind.
Joseph Conrad boldly experimented with the novella and novel forms, filling his writing with the exotic places he himself had traveled, and concerned himself with honor, guilt, moral alienation, and expiation of sin. Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer encapsulate his literary achievements-his haunting portrayal of the dark side of man.