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About the book
  • Published: 1 October 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099511533
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $12.99

The Secret Agent

Penguin Pocket Classics




Spookily topical - Guardian

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY GILES FODEN

London is under threat. It has become a haven for political exiles and anarchists. Frequent bomb threats and disturbances interrupt the lives of the city’s inhabitants, who live in fear of the terrorists in their midst. One such terrorist is Verloc. He is the secret agent who is given the mission to strike right at the heart of London’s pride by blowing up Greenwich Observatory. But his decision to drag his innocent family into the plot leads to tragic consequences on a more personal than political level.

  • Pub date: 1 October 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099511533
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $12.99

About the Author

Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad (originally Józef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski) was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. His parents, ardent Polish patriots, died when he was a child, following their exile for anti-Russian activities, and he came under the protection of his tradition-conscious uncle, Thaddeus Bobrowski, who watched over him for the next twenty-five years.

In 1874 Bobrowski conceded to his nephew's passionate desire to go to sea, and 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 and his Master's certificate in the British Merchant Service. 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 married Jessie George and eventually 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. Today Conrad is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of fiction in English - his third language. He once described himself as being concerned 'with the ideal value of things, events and people'; in the Preface to The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' he defined his task as 'by the power of the written word ... before all, to make you see'.

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Praise for The Secret Agent

“Perenially fascinating... When Joseph Conrad wrote The Secret Agent he was responding imaginatively to a real botched bomb attack on Greenwich, at a time when there was real panic about anarchist extremism throughout Europe”

Guardian

“An astonishing book”

Ford Madox Ford

“This damp, dark thriller dances about on satirical feet, from its opening paragraph to the very last, where it suddenly plunges like Chernobyl's core to our own apocalyptic times, seamed with petit-bourgeois envy and crazed fundamentalist dreams. Whether attacking the former or the latter, Conrad never lets go of his grim, twitchy smile.”

Adam Thorpe, Guardian

“One of the two unquestionable classics of the first order that [Conrad] added to the English novel”

F.R. Leavis


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