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The Secret Agent

  • Summary

The Secret Agent is a novel by Joseph Conrad. It was published in 1907. The novel describes events in the life of a man named Verloc, a secret government agent for an unnamed country living in London in 1886, who is ordered to carry out a bombing with the goal of manipulating the British government. Though The Secret Agent is a work of fiction, its events and characters were partially inspired by an 1894 event in which a French bombmaker was killed in Greenwich Park, London, by an explosive device which prematurely detonated. The novel deals intimately with terrorism and political unrest, and was published two years after an essay by Conrad, "Autocracy and War," in which he described Russia as a dangerous and destabilizing influence for democratic Europe. Though The Secret Agent was not well-received at the time of its publication, it is now considered one of Conrad's best works, with many deeming it prophetic in its anticipation of modern-day political concerns.

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