The Secret Agent
A Simple TaleBook - 1992
Edited and with Notes by Peter Lancelot Mallios
Introduction by Robert D. Kaplan
In reexamining The Secret Agent in a post-9/11 world, Robert D. Kaplan praises Joseph Conrad's "surgical insight into the mechanics of terrorism," calling the book "a fine example of how a savvy novelist may detect the future long before a social scientist does."
This intense 1907 thriller-a precursor to works by Graham Greene and John le Carr#65533;-concerns a British double agent who infiltrates a cabal of anarchists. Conrad explores political and criminal intrigue in a modern society, building to a climax that the critic F. R. Leavis deemed "one of the most astonishing triumphs of genius in fiction."
From the critics
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". . . 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.”
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