This paper aims to examine Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899), in relation to the emerging technologies and the electrification of media in the late 19th century. Heart of Darkness is structured as an embedded narrative, recounted orally through multiple narrators and storytellers whose bodies remain unseen. I will argue that these literary devices partly reflect the uncanny effect of a voice mechanically amplified and detached from its human source —a product of Thomas Edison’s 1877 invention of the phonograph. I will also refer to the psychoanalytic notion of voice as a partial object, as mentioned by Friedrich Kittler: Lacan adds the voice and the gaze to Freud’s list of partial objects; according to Kittler, “this is psychoanalysis in the media age” because cinema restores the disembodied gaze, and the phonograph transmits the disembodied voice.
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