The ellipsis in the titular quote refers to an important omission: "it [the blank space] had got filled since my boyhood with rivers and lakes and names. It had ceased to be a blank space of delightful mystery a white patch for a boy to dream gloriously over."1 Conrad's Marlow highlights the major significance of the blank space' at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries here - that of ignorance, but a challenging ignorance; a temptation to the empirical enthusiasts of the Victorian era and beyond. In this essay, the semantic challenge of the term blank space' will be addressed as the layers of meaning, in a 19th and 20th century context, are both relevant and important in discussing a topic of this kind: the perceived value of unexplored territories, the uncivilised' culture of the native inhabitants, the importance of nature as a barrier of progress and a combatant against technology, and the metaphorical and allegorical treatment of knowledge and ignorance.
The books chosen as reference are Erewhon by Samuel Butler2, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad3, and The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle4. Written in 1871, 1902 and 1912 respectively, these books were published at the end of an intense period of exploration in which Britain, like most of Western Europe, spilled out to investigate, explore, colonise and exploit the rest of the world.'5 This upsurge in imperialism, coupled with the great scientific and technological advances of the Industrial Revolution a century before, drew even more attention to those undiscovered and unexplored areas of the world whose maps had been purged of fantastical topography, wiped clean, and given over to the strict demands of "scientific" practice'.6 Professor Challenger's first elaboration on his trip... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2005, 04). Examine the Significance of Blank Spaces in Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'?. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 04, 2005, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Examine-Significance-Blank-Spaces-Conrads-Heart-55291.html
"Examine the Significance of Blank Spaces in Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'?" StudyMode.com. 04 2005. 04 2005 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Examine-Significance-Blank-Spaces-Conrads-Heart-55291.html>.
"Examine the Significance of Blank Spaces in Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'?." StudyMode.com. 04, 2005. Accessed 04, 2005. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Examine-Significance-Blank-Spaces-Conrads-Heart-55291.html.