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The Secret Agent A Simple Tale by Joseph Conrad
  

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March 2013 Guest Editor Charles Cumming on The Secret Agent...

One of the most enthralling political thrillers of all time. Conrad describes an anarchist cell plotting a terrorist atrocity in London in the early 1900s – his observations on the terrorist mindset could equally apply to a brainwashed 21st century jihadi in Bradford. The novel contains my favourite line in all literature: “An extraordinary expression of underhand malevolence survived in his extinguished eyes.”

If you like Joseph Conrad you might also like to read books by David Miller.

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Synopsis

The Secret Agent A Simple Tale by Joseph Conrad

Secret Agent is Joseph Conrad's dark satire on English society, edited with an introduction and notes by Michael Newton in Penguin Classics . In the only novel Conrad set in London, The Secret Agent communicates a profoundly ironic view of human affairs. The story is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894 masterminded by Verloc, a Russian spy working for the police, and ostensibly a member of an anarchist group in Soho. His masters instruct him to discredit the anarchists in a humiliating fashion, and when his evil plan goes horribly awry, Verloc must deal with the repercussions of his actions. While rooted in the Edwardian period, Conrad's tale remains strikingly contemporary, with its depiction of Londoners gripped by fear of the terrorists living in their midst. This edition of The Secret Agent contains a chronology, further reading, notes and maps of London and Greenwich. In his introduction, Michael Newton discusses London's real-life world of political anarchy, and Conrad's portrayal of the Verlocs' marriage.

Reviews

'A brilliant book, one of the greatest works of modern irony.' Malcolm Bradbury

About the Author

Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. In 1874 Conrad travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice. In 1886 he obtained British nationality. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes. He continued to write until his death in 1924. J. H. Stape is the author of The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad (1996) and Conrad's Notes on Life and Letters (2004).

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd December 2012

Author

Joseph Conrad

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    recommendations

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Format

Hardback
454 pages

Categories

Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
Literary studies: from c 1900 -

ISBN

9781108060394

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