Patrick Brantlinger’s essay, “Victorians and Africans: The Genealogy of the Myth of the Dark Continent,” presents a basis for the development of the theory of the “Dark Continent”. Joseph Conrad suggests the universality of darkness, or “savageness”, within every individual, whether he is black or white. The Europeans, in an effort to disprove Conrad, attempt to project their own “savage” impulses onto Africans (Brantlinger 194). They saw themselves as superior to Africans in every way,
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has the same “savageness” that he is born with, regardless of how hard he tries to escape it. Nineteenth century Europeans, in their efforts to project their own darkness onto the Africans, unintentionally created the Myth of the Dark Continent. They discovered that the Dark Continent was simply a “mirror, on one level reflecting what the Victorians wanted to see – heroic and saintly self-images – but on another, casting ghostly shadows of guilt and regression” (Brantlinger 198).