Hints for reading ...Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad - Carla Aira - ebook

Questi brevi testi cercano di introdurre gli studenti alla letteratura dei classici in lingua inglese, inserendoli nel proprio con testo storico letterario senza tralasciare i cenni più importanti sulla vita dell'autore.These brief notes aim to introduce students to classics by writers belonging to the English speaking world. All these works are analysed in their social, historical and literary period.

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Hints for Reading ... Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

notes by carla aira

Between two centuries

historical scene

During the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1902), England lived a period full of changes and extensions in every field.The Parliament had to face the problems of the workers with a series of Acts ( The Factory Act, The Ten Hours' Act; The Mines Act; The Public Health Act) to improve the working conditions, limit the hours of work and the exploitation of the children and women.
In 1884 the Third Reform Bill enlarged the suffrage to all male workers.Ireland found his leader in Charles Parnell that demanded the Home Rule in 1880, but it was not approved till after the First World WarIn 1854-56 the dispute on the borders between Russia and Turkey originated the Crimean War, during which Florence Nightingale founded the Red Cross.In 1887 Queen Victoria became Empress of India and the Empire enlarged its dominions to Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus and parts of Africa.In 1899-1902 the Boer War burst out in Orange and Transval.
Queen Victoria died in 1902. Her son Edward came to the English throne trying to follow his mother’s steps.
In 1911 the Money Bill is signed; in 1912 The National Insurance Scheme is approved to assure the workers a sum against sickness and unemployment; in 1906 the Liberal Party wins the general elections.
Ireland gets the Home Rule (an independent Parliament) but the Protestants in Ulster do not want to be included in the scheme. The Sinn Fein (in Celtic language: ourselves alone) is created by the Catholics. In 1916, at Easter, the members of the Sinn Fein rebel in Dublin calling complete independence, but they are defeated and executed (Easter Rising). Subsequently they form an Army, the Irish Republican Army or IRA that uses terrorist methods. The English parliament decides not to move directly against them because it understands the importance of the support of small
nations during the 1st World War. A police force, the Black and Tans is sent to sedate the rebels.
During the First World War Britain and Germany ally against France. But William II of Germany wants to challenge Britain on the sea and tries to get influence on the Balkan States. This represents a danger for Russia for the control of the Mediterranean and for England as in this way Germany can control Egypt and India. So Britain starts an alliance with France (Entent Cordiale) and Russia (that supports Serbia).
In 1917 Russia collapses because of the Bolshevik Revolution and in 1918 the Peace Treaty is signed in Versailles and the League of Nations is founded in Geneva.
The war leaves heavy economic consequences: the value of the money falls; the taxes rise; there are difficulties in transports because of the loss of shipping and machineries; the exportation of coal diminishes and the iron, steel an textile industries decline, whereas the U.S.A. and Japan develop economically.
In 1918 the Liberal Party disappears and is substituted by the Labour Party
In 1921 the women over thirty get the vote and Great Britain recognises Ireland as a free state in the British Commonwealth of Nation.