"In the interior you will no doubt meet Mr Kurtz"

When Conrad reached Stanley Falls aboard the Roi de Belges in September 1890, the vessel picked up a French agent of the company, Georges Antoine Klein, who died of dysentery during the voyage downstream. In the manuscript of Heart of Darkness, Conrad began by writing ‘Monsieur Klein’; this was changed to ‘Mr Klein’ and finally to ‘Mr Kurtz’.

Despite this, it is doubtful that Klein provided anything more than a basic model for Kurtz. He was a fairly innocuous, minor agent who had taken up his post at Stanley Falls only a month or so before Conrad arrived in the Congo.