ABSTRACT

The serenity and majesty of the Thames as it is described at the beginning of Heart of Darkness are only too appropriate for this waterway down which had sailed, long before Joseph Conrad's time, vessels carrying with them the seeds of the British Empire. Conrad's Thames flows in remarkable contrast to the Nile that rages through al-Tayyib Salih's Season of Migration to the North (1969). Far from resting in 'tranquil dignity', the Nile and the people inhabiting its banks are shown undergoing violent transfigurations. If Heart of Darkness narrates the history of modern British imperialism from a position deep within its metropolitan centre, Season of Migration presents itself as the counternarrative of the same bitter history. Just as Conrad's novel was bound up with Britain's imperial project, Salih's participates (in an oppositional way) in the afterlife of the same project today, by 'writing back' to the colonial power that once ruled the Sudan.