Heart of Darkness was written in ~2 months, in the winter of 1898 and and the beginning of 1899. Marlow is the narrator and Conrad's alter ego. He travels to the Congo for a Belgian trading company in search of their brilliant ivory trader, Mr. Kurtz, who has gone AWOL (if you will) to gain a strange ascendancy over the Africans there. It deals with colonialism, the ambiguities of so-called civilization, genocide, the West, etc. An example of nested narration.