‘An Outpost of Progress’ by Joseph Conrad

51bdowIzM4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_In a couple of weeks we will be posting a new short story in the ELT Online Reading Group and this time one of our members suggested reading Amy Foster. By a strange coincidence a student of mine came to class with a volume of Selected Short Stories by Joseph Conrad and when I mentioned that we would be discussing one of them, he simply gave me the book!

Of course Amy Foster is there, but there are also a couple of others that I hadn’t read before and perhaps the one that impressed me most in the whole collection was precisely the first one, An Outpost of Progress. The narrative is impeccable and it was written with almost cruel irony. In it Conrad touches on many issues that are also the heart of Heart of Darkness – isolation, great expectations and delusion, the civilizing effects of the presence of the others and the wilderness that outgrows and takes over what is supposed to be the human nature.

Conrad, J.  (1997) Selected Short Stories. Canterbury: Wordsworth Classics.