The Secret Agent

The Secret Agent

A Simple Tale

Book - 2004
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"This absurdist story is noted for its adept characterizations, melodramatic irony, and psychological intrigue. In a corrupt London underworld of criminals, terrorists, and fanatics, Mr. Verloc is assigned to plant a bomb. The tragic repercussions for his family show how Conrad's ironic voice is concerned not with politics but with the terrible fates of ordinary people. Adolf Verloc is a languid Eastern European secret agent posing as a London shop owner with anarchist leanings who is ordered to dynamite Greenwich Observatory. The plot fails when Verloc's mentally retarded brother-in-law is accidentally killed by the explosives. Verloc's wife Winnie murders Verloc in a fit of rage. She commits suicide after she is betrayed by Ossipon, one of her husband's anarchist associates. Inspired by an actual attempt in 1894 to blow up London's Greenwich Observatory."--Amazon.com.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2004
ISBN: 9780199536351
019953635X
Branch Call Number: FICTION CONRAD 2008
Characteristics: liv, 245 pages ; 20 cm
Additional Contributors: Lyon, John 1956-

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From Library Staff

(1907)
"The Secret Agent is the unsurpassed ancestor of a long series of twentieth-century novels and films which explore the confused motives that lie at the heart of political terrorism. In its use of powerful psychological insight to intensify narrative suspense, it set the terms by whic... Read More »

Mr. Adolph Verloc operates from a seedy Soho shop, where he deals in pornography and espionage. Idle, treacherous, and self-righteous, he makes his wife, Winnie's, life one of silent mystery.

In a corrupt London underworld of criminals, terrorists, and fanatics, Mr. Verloc is assigned to plant a bomb. The tragic repercussions for his family show how Conrad's ironic voice is concerned not with politics but with the terrible fates of ordinary people.


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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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