The Secret Agent
By Joseph Conrad
Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780679417231, 320pp.
Publication Date: December 1992
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This is the only novel that Conrad set in London, and it communicates a profoundly ironic view of human affairs. The story is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894. Verloc, (a Russian spy who is also working for the police) is ostensibly a member of an anarchist group in Soho.
The Secret Agent is the unsurpassed ancestor of a long series of twentieth-century novels and films which explore the confused motives that lie at the heart of political terrorism. In its use of powerful psychological insight to intensify narrative suspense, it set the terms by which subsequent works in its genre were created. Conrad was the first novelist to discover the strange in-between territory of the political exile, and his genius was such that we still have no truer map of that region's moral terrain than his story of a terrorist plot and its tragic consequences for the guilty and innocent alike.
Introduction by Paul Theroux
(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)