The Secret AgentBook - 1992
Conrad's double agent, Verloc, is a Russian spy tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group in London. His mission to discredit the ineffectual radicals and their cause goes awry, and involves his unsuspecting wife and her vulnerable younger brother in disastrous ways. In its use of powerful psychological insight to intensify narrative suspense, The Secret Agent broke new literary ground. 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 both the guilty and the innocent.
Introduction by Paul Theroux
From the critics
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". . . ALL idealisation makes life poorer. To beautify it is to take away its character of complexity—it is to destroy it. Leave that to the moralists, my boy. History is made by men, but they do not make it in their heads. The ideas that are born in their consciousness play an insignificant part in the march of events. History is dominated and determined by the tool and the production—by the force of economic conditions.* Capitalism has made socialism, and the laws made by the capitalism for the protection of property are responsible for anarchism. No one can tell what form the social organisation may take in the future. Then why indulge in prophetic phantasies? At best they can only interpret the mind of the prophet, and can have I no objective value. Leave that pastime to the moralists, my boy.”
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