"He desired to have kings meet him at railway-stations on his return"
Henry Morton Stanley (1895)
Public DomainHenry Morton Stanley (1895) - Credit: Cassell's Universal Portrait Gallery

When Henry Morton Stanley arrived at Marseilles Railway Station on 8 January 1878, after completing a journey across Africa from Zanzibar to Boma, he was met by emissaries of Leopold II.

Although this may be the only allusion to Stanley, the explorer and author of works such as In Darkest Africa and Through the Dark Continent was clearly an important figure in the genesis of Heart of Darkness, and not only for the role he played in the founding of the Congo Free State. Stanley’s search for David Livingstone has parallels with Marlow’s journey towards Kurtz, as does the explorer's later expedition to relieve Emin Pasha.