The Secret Agent

fiction, Novel by Joseph Conrad


The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale is a novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1907. The story is set in London in 1886 and deals with Mr. Verloc and his work as a spy for an unnamed country.The Secret Agent is notable for being one of Conrad's later political novels. In these later novels, Conrad has moved away from his former tales of seafaring.
The novel deals broadly with anarchism, espionage, and terrorism. It also deals with exploitation of the vulnerable, particularly in Verloc's relationship with his brother-in-law Stevie, who has an intellectual disability.
The Secret Agent was ranked the 46th best novel of the 20th century by Modern Library.
Because of its terrorism theme, it was noted as "one of the three works of literature most cited in the American media" two weeks after the September 11 attacks.

First Published


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