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The Secret Agent

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  14,998 Ratings  ·  999 Reviews
In the back streets of nineteenth-century London, a group of revolutionaries plot an incident intended to turn English complacency on its ear. Their objective: the destruction of one of the nation's proudest monuments of scientific achievement, the Greenwich Observatory. Unbeknownst to the schemers, however, their ringleader is an agent provocateur, driven by a complex arr ...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published November 9th 2001 by Dover Publications (first published 1907)
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Lyn
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have only run across a few writers who can adeptly and accurately plumb the depths of the human soul.

Joseph Conrad is one of those authors and he is on a short list of talented creators who seem to have two fingers on the pulse of primordial man as he still lives and breathes beneath the surface composure of his civilized evolution.

For Conrad, the ability to strip off the etiquette, culture, and social mores of western thought is as eventful as watching sun bathers lose their clothing on the
...more
[P]
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitchin
In the aftermath of a tragedy people often look towards artists, towards novelists, musicians and poets also, for comfort, the kind of comfort one finds when someone is able to capture an event, or feelings, that you yourself find incomprehensible or unfathomable or inexpressible. For example, after 9/11 there was a rush to proclaim certain kinds of art as speaking for the time[s], and it was then that Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent received a lot of attention, it being a novel concerned with ...more
Luís C.
London muddy, rain and soot, mist and fog. In a one-eyed street in Soho, Mr. Verloc runs his small business, a very discreet shop for male customers, confidentially selling a heterogeneous set of newspapers with revolutionary tendencies and discreetly sealed shady merchandise, which are conducive to satisfying and flattering instincts of his gentlemen. The worthy trader took charge of his wife's family, wife of erased, family composed of a simple-minded and influential brother-in-law as well as ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
My ratings are very moody and just generally not to be trusted. Having gotten that fact out in the open for the umpteenth time, I will say that I thought this was a very good book. Love, no. Like very much, yes. I especially hearted the last-ish part with the wife and the train and ole dude's stop, drop, and roll in mid-air move because ACTION! SUSPENSE! HEARTBREAK! PLOTSY TWIRLS! In fact, most of my favorite scenes involved Winnie V, while some other sections, particularly some of the more beat ...more
Fiona MacDonald
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
I can appreciate this novel is pretty wonderful. And as I read more and more I was fascinated, but I did find it hard going at the start. I think the plot is horrific, and it made me want to research the Greenwich Bomb in more detail. I think it was a pretty daring book for Conrad to release at such a time with such detailed observations on spying and terrorism. It's still an incredibly relevant work even now in the current climate.
Sketchbook
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grand opera.
Tosca stabs Scarpia. Victorian London, amid a nest of spies
and terrorists. Classic stuff fr a non-stylist who is, nonetheless, a great writer (Conrad's first language was Polish, his 2d French, he wrote in English). A strong influence on Graham Greene, Conrad rips open a marital horror bet a scuzzy anarchist and his simple wife after her teen brud is killed x his bomb.

Their marriage was legalized prostitution and, in her outrage, the shattered sister becomes a murderer. "She did not
...more
Jonfaith
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My best friend Joel has a friend Bob who teaches at Rutgers. Nearly a decade ago, before becoming a scholarly expert on Borat, he stated that in terms of literature he wasn't going to bother with anything written later than 1920; what was the point, he'd quip? I admired his pluck. While I'm not sure he still ascribes to such. Well, for a couple of weeks in 2004 I adhered to the goal. There have been many goals with a similar history and such a sad conclusion: sigh. This was my first effort towar ...more
umberto
First published in 1907, this spy fiction might be a literary adventure to those unfamiliar with Joseph Conrad's writing style enriched by apt, scholarly words and idioms admirable for his writing as his third language. From its 13 chapters, I found reading its first three fourths confusing due to its plot; however, I kept reading and gradually saw the light around Chapters 9-10 onwards. Then I enjoyed reading Chapter 11 in which I christened by noting as a tragic chapter since all episodes horr ...more
Oziel Bispo
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Londres ,1886 .Mr Verloc é proprietário de uma pequena loja no centro de Londres, que na verdade é apenas uma fachada,pois Mr Verloc é um anarquista ,um agente secreto  e membro de uma célula terrorista e usa sua loja para produzir panfletos bem como realizar reuniões com  seus contatos e amigos anarquistas.

A família de Verloc é composta por Winnie sua esposa e o irmão de Winnie  , Steven que tem problemas mentais. Apesar de Verloc fazer parte dessa célula terrorista , desse grupo de anarquista
...more
Amanda
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I thought that The Secret Agent was a genuinely fascinating profile of modern (by which I mean 1905) London society, and I found Conrad's picture of society being driven by personal interest and the lust for political power to be incredibly modern (by which I mean 2008) in its deep pessimism and sceptical view of human nature. Conrad presents us with a wide spectrum of characters, from loyal wives and impoverished cabdrivers to police officers and activist anarchists, each of whom is motivated ...more
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Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski ) was a Polish-born English novelist who today is most famous for Heart of Darkness, his fictionalized account of Colonial Africa.

Conrad left his native Poland in his middle teens to avoid conscription into the Russian Army. He joined the French Merchant Marine and briefly employed himself as a wartime gunrunner. He then began to work aboard Br
...more
More about Joseph Conrad...
“We can never cease to be ourselves.” 53 likes
“Madness alone is truly terrifying, inasmuch as you cannot placate it by threats, persuasion, or bribes.” 23 likes
More quotes…