The Secret Agent (RED edition)

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 11/24/2010
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics

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In the only novel Conrad set in London, The Secret Agent communicates a profoundly ironic view of human affairs. The story is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894 masterminded by Verloc, a Russian spy working for the police, and ostensibly a member of an anarchist group in Soho. His masters instruct him to discredit the anarchists in a humiliating fashion, and when his evil plan goes horribly awry, Verlac must deal with the repercussions of his actions.

Books can change lives. Penguin Classics have inspired the imaginations of millions of readers over the world, transforming the way people think and feel forever. And now we have partnered with (RED) to bring you our selection of some of the best stories ever written, books are going to help save lives too.

‘’Elevated the spy story into literature in a way that would inspire Greene and le Carre ’’ -Observer

Author Biography

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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Customer Reviews

Marvelous Novel June 5, 2011
The story is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894 masterminded by Verloc, a Russian spy working for the police, and ostensibly a member of an anarchist group in Soho. This is one of Conrad's most important works, but not one of his most likable. I thought it was a very good read. I highly recommend the Signet version as the introduction (which should be read after the novel) points out several less-than-obvious motifs.
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The Secret Agent (RED edition): 4 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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