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Prawdy Lokeli. Literackie reprezentacje ludobójstwa częściowego w Wolnym Państwie Kongo 1880–1908

Lech M. Nijakowski

Truths of Lokela. Literary Representations of Partial Genocide in the Congo Free State 1880–1908

The article analyzes selected literary representations of partial genocide in the Congo Free State (1880–1908) as documents of the discourse of truth (in the sense of M. Foucault) in a given era. Considerations use achievements of the postcolonial studies as well as genocide studies. The analysis focuses on the comparison of two books – Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa. The author reconstructs the way indigenous people are presented in both novels, showing elements of the racist discourse in Conrad’s novel and the changes that Llosa introduced. He describes the character of Kurtz (a colonist and an order represented by him) as “empty signifiers” of the colonial system. The article analyzes the extent to which both authors adequately presented the functioning of the colonial system. It indicates the dimensions of Casement’s exclusion – the main character of Llosa’s novel – referring also to the analysis of gender studies. The author concludes that both works reveal the weakness of criticism undertaken from the particular position – Llosa and Conrad were high rank men in the hierarchy of the global capitalist society. Regardless of the intent, they reproduce the discourse of truth, establishing not only the subject of cognition, but also their own identity.