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Abstract

In contemporary visual culture, we may observe the rise (and development) of a new myth—the transmedial myth of Heart of Darkness. Artists reimagine the well-known story in various media: the most obvious example being F.F. Coppola’s cinematic adaptation Apocalypse Now. However, there are also the lesser-known ones, with Conrad’s novella appearing in theatrical form on the Bulgarian and British stages (a performance by Museum Theatre directed by Valeriya Valcheva in Sofia and the production by the Imitating the Dog theatre company in London), in the form of a sand animated film directed by Gerald Conn, or the anime-influenced Brazilian/French animated feature Heart of Darkness by Rogério Nunes. Additionally, not to be left behind, there are several graphic novels and comics depicting the story, starting with the famous version by Catherine Anyango and David Mairowitz and ending on the Instagram videos/comics volume by Sascha Ciezata. The chapter investigates visual adaptations of Heart of Darkness in four graphic novels: Heart of Darkness. A Graphic Novel by Catherine Anyango and David Mairowitz (2010), Kongo. Le ténébreux voyage de Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski by Tom Tirabosco and Christian Perrissin (2013), Au Coeur des ténèbres by Stephane Miquel and Loic Godart (2014), Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Peter Kuper (2020). The aim of the chapter is to explore the transmedial adaptations to showcase, first, how contemporary artists interweave Conrad’s biography into their visions of Heart of Darkness, and second, the different ways in which they focalize the themes of the story. The overall intention is that this study of Heart of Darkness’s graphic adaptations can be part of a more general move beyond the conservative “compare—contrast” approach of adaptation studies.

In: Conrad’s Presence in Contemporary Culture
The anthology consists of essays authored by scholars of different nationalities from diverse cultures, nations and primary languages. They cover Conrad’s presence across multiple media (fiction, films, comics, and graphic novels).

The collection is unique because the contributors focused on Conrad’s presence in contemporary culture – a constantly changing field – rather than well-trodden paths. The exploration of Polish, French, Italian, Spanish, English and American works of art strengthens its originality. The artists discussed in connection with Conrad include Olga Tokarczuk, Stanisław Lem, Robert Silveberg, Loic Godart, Christian Bobin, Christian Perrissin, Tom Tirabosco, Eduardo Berti, J.M. Coetzee, Michelangelo Antonioni.

Last but not least, the volume contains 20 stunning reproductions in full colour from films, graphic novels and comics.
In: Conrad’s Presence in Contemporary Culture