Imperalism as a Business

“That this group of people is drawn largely from the business world is Conrad’s way of emphasizing the fact that during the 1890s the business of empire, once an adventurous and often individualistic enterprise, had become the empire of business” (Said 23).

He states this fact not as a starting point with examples to prove or uphold his statement, but rather culminates with it and uses support from both Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as well as societal “pressures” to promote imperialism. For example, the quote above is certainly explained by the the paragraph proceeding it, but the real value of it lies within the paragraph that precedes it. The “white-suited clerk” and the “semi-crazed Russian”, etc all offer a lot for Marlow to think about during his journey as interruptions and digressions of the original narrative. These interruptions no longer allow for the solitary plundering of Africa, but bring about this bigger theme of “Europeans performing imperial mastery”. It is interesting and noteworthy how Said begins with an example of the book, the breaks in narrative. to the generalization of who these interruptions are made by, to become an overarching societal statement, to then finally claim that the both the book and society point to an empire of business.