This map plots the settings and references in Heart of Darkness

To start exploring, click a red pin

Page 15. " the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth "

London was the world's largest city by population from about 1825 to 1925. By 1890, the city had approximately five million inhabitants.


Busy traffic on London Bridge (c. 1900)
Public DomainBusy traffic on London Bridge (c. 1900) - Credit: John L. Stoddard



In his Author’s Note for The Secret Agent (1907), Conrad offers a more ambivalent description of ‘the biggest, and the greatest town, on earth’, describing London as:

a monstrous town more populous than some continents and in its man-made might as if indifferent to heaven’s frowns and smiles; a cruel devourer of the world’s light. There was room enough there to place any story, depth there for any passion, variety there for any setting, darkness enough to bury five million of lives.


The Secret Agent on Book Drum