The Secret Agent

The Secret Agent

Written by:
Introduction by:

Format
Ebook
Price
$5.99
 
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101126899
  • 272 Pages
  • Signet
  • Adult

Overview

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 Carré.

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 guilty and innocent alike.

Introduction by Paul Theroux


From the Hardcover edition.

Praise

The Secret Agent is an astonishing book. It is one of the best—and certainly the most significant—detective stories ever written.” —Ford Madox Ford

The Secret Agent is an altogether thrilling ‘crime story’ . . . a political novel of a foreign embassy intrigue and its tragic human outcome.” —Thomas Mann
 
 “One of Conrad’s supreme masterpieces.” —F. R. Leavis
 
 “[The Secret Agent] was in effect the world’s first political thriller—spies, conspirators, wily policemen, murders, bombings . . .  Conrad was also giving artistic expression to his domestic anxieties—his overweight wife and problem child, his lack of money, his inactivity, his discomfort in London, his uneasiness in English society, his sense of exile, of being an alien . . . The novel has the perverse logic and derangement of a dream.”
—from the Introduction to the Everyman’s Library edition by Paul Theroux
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