The Secret Agent

The Secret Agent

Book - 1992
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Inspired by an attempt in 1894 to blow up London's Greenwich Observatory, The Secret Agent is the unsurpassed original of the long tradition of espionage thrillers that explore the confused motives at the heart of terrorism. Published in 1907, Joseph Conrad's novel was remarkably prescient, anticipating the political contours of the next century, as well as the classic spy novels of such later writers as Graham Greene and John Le Carr#65533;.

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
Publisher: New York : Knopf, [1992]
Edition: Key record
ISBN: 9780679417231
0679417230
9780140432282
0140432280
Characteristics: xxxiii, 283 p. ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Secret agent a simple tale

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avocadotree
May 12, 2017

this I found out while reading it was the unabomber's favorite book. It's quite messed up and gruesome. It wasn't long at all but it was somewhat complex. It took me ten whole days. I pretty much could only read one chapter per day. If you stick with it to the end the story does get very vivid. I would look also at some sort of reading guide that describes the way the timeline of the story jumps around a lot. Timelessly weird-ass book to be sure. Highest Rating!

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spenper
Jul 05, 2011

Pretty disturbing

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Blue_Ox_22 Mar 26, 2012

". . . 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.”

p. 31

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