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Unfortunately, much of what is passed on as true history regarding Stanley and Livingstone -- and which Ignacy repeats in his background article -- is actually fiction, largely invented by Henry Morton Stanley and the New York Herald in order to sell newspapers, books, and very lucrative speaking engagements for Stanley.

The most common fiction is the idea that Livingstone was "lost" in Africa, and that nobody had heard from him for "six years." This was an idea trumpeted by Stanley and the Herald in order to gin up publicity.

Joseph Conrad was absolutely right that the whole thing was a "newspaper stunt" from the beginning.

That's not to say that Livingstone was in on it, or that he wasn't in trouble at the time. He had run out of supplies in Ujiji, where the British consulate and all his correspondents knew he was, and was ill. But the consul had received a letter from Livingstone in October of 1869, the same year the Herald hired Stanley.

Nobody, including Livingstone's patrons in England, considered Livingstone to be "lost" or incommunicado. It was an invention of the Herald, which was then repeated around the world.

And Stanley was no hero. Casual killer, almost certainly, but no hero. An inveterate liar and hustler, Stanley's colorful career before becoming a newspaper "correspondent" included entering the American civil war as a confederate -- he was actually shamed into it by neighbors, who sent him a dress in the mail because he wasn't fighting -- then defecting to join the Northern side when things started to look grim. The Welshman then pretended to be a born-and-bred Yankee for the rest of his life.

If the testimony of one of his companions is correct, Stanley committed at least one murder/robbery during his early Asian travels. In Africa, in any case, his own writing makes it clear that he would gun down native "savages" upon the slightest pretexts.

There's a reason that Joseph Conrad modeled the figure of Kurtz, in Heart of Darkness, on a composite of Stanley and Livingstone -- a character who pretends to be working for the betterment of native peoples, but who scrawls "Exterminate the brutes!" in the margins of his hypocritical "news" correspondence.

Anyway, Stanley went on to rake in enormous amounts of money from speaking tours.


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Wayne Walker
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Interesting read. I had no idea there was a connection to Heart of Darkness. I guess that makes my imagined Heart of Darkness scenario redundant. Or perhaps not...
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wwalker98 wrote:
Interesting read. I had no idea there was a connection to Heart of Darkness. I guess that makes my imagined Heart of Darkness scenario redundant. Or perhaps not...

Please do it! I'd definitely play it.
 
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M.J.E. Hendriks
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An Outpost of Progress, a much earlier story by Conrad, is also related - a wonderful story and led to (earlier version nearly of) Heart of Darkness. In some ways I prefer Outpost.
 
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Ignacy Trzewiczek
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Wretched Git, thank you for this comment. If you like to make it into an article and describe this story - I'd love to add it to the Livingstone scenario as a additional material.
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Kevin Lloyd
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Some years ago, I used to work occasionally with Lady Stanley in North Wales. If I'd known her ancestor was such a rogue, I'd have kept a closer eye on her.
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trzewik wrote:
Wretched Git, thank you for this comment. If you like to make it into an article and describe this story - I'd love to add it to the Livingstone scenario as a additional material.

Thanks for a great game, Ignacy -- a great catalogue of games. I'll send along a chapter that might be relevant.
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Mr Mjeh wrote:
An Outpost of Progress, a much earlier story by Conrad, is also related - a wonderful story and led to (earlier version nearly of) Heart of Darkness. In some ways I prefer Outpost.

I can see that. "Outpost"'s political satire is even clearer than the other story's.
 
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