The place is London, and the time is the late 1800s. Mr. Verloc appears to be an unassuming owner of a bric-a-brac store, but he’s actually a spy for an unnamed country. When he’s summoned by his superiors and ordered to plant a bomb to foment unrest in English politics and society, he finds himself stuck in a more-than-uncomfortable situation. Conrad’s novel is set against the background of the Greenwich Observatory bombing, in which an anarchist unsuccessfully tried to detonate a bomb near the building. Terrorist activity was on the rise, and Conrad uses the fear and uncertainty of the time to explore the meanings of duty and of evil, along with the influence politics and political movements have on terrorist violence. The Secret Agent is widely considered one of Conrad’s finest novels, with modern critics praising its prescient forecast of 20th century politics and society.
The majority of revolutionists are the enemies of discipline and fatigue mostly. There are natures too, to whose sense of justice the price exacted looms up monstrously enormous, odious, oppressive, worrying, humiliating, extortionate, intolerable. Those are the fanatics. The remaining portion of social rebels is accounted for by vanity, the mother of all noble and vile illusions, the companion of poets, reformers, charlatans, prophets, and incendiaries
Suwitri Novita Sanjiwanije citiralaпре 5 година
George Ramsay Rachel Daniels
Ilias Aitkalievje citiraoпре 6 година
Mr Verloc, going out in the morning, left his shop nominally in charge of his brother-in-law. It could be done, because there was very little business at any time, and practically none at all before the evening. Mr Verloc cared but little about his ostensible business. And, moreover, his wife was in charge of his brother-in-law.
The shop was small, and so was the house. It was one of those grimy brick houses which existed in large quantities before the era of reconstruction dawned upon London. The shop was a square box of a place, with the front glazed in small panes. In the daytime the door remained closed; in the evening it stood discreetly but suspiciously ajar.
The window contained photographs of more or less undressed dancing girls; nondescript packages in wrappers like patent medicines; closed yellow paper envelopes, very flimsy, and marked two-and-six in heavy black figures; a few numbers of ancient French comic publications hung across a string as if to dry; a dingy blue china bowl, a casket of black wood, bottles of marking ink, and rubber stamps; a few books, with titles hinting at impropriety; a few apparently old copies of obscure newspapers, badly printed, with titles like _The Torch, The Gong_--rousing titles. And the two gas jets inside the panes were always turned low, either for economy's sake or for the sake of the customers.
These customers were either very young men, who hung about the window for a time before slipping in suddenly; or men of a more mature age, but looking generally as if they were not in funds. Some of that last kind had the collars o