Ranked #64 in Modernism
Introduction by Paul Theroux less
Reviews and Recommendations
We've comprehensively compiled reviews of The Secret Agent from the world's leading experts.
Jason Burke Basically, anything you want to know about how terrorism works you can find in this book. It is not necessarily about who is behind terrorism because in this book it is a shadowy foreign state that wants an agent provocateur in London to explode Greenwich Observatory to make a point. (Source)
Iain Sinclair There are lots of reasons I’m very fond of Conrad as a writer. I like visions of London that come translated or diffused or refracted through other cultures. In that way, I suppose, I like this book in the same way I like my first choice, the Céline. Coming here out of his Polish background, Conrad picked up on the elements you were talking about in terms of Dickens — the city as a labyrinth of conspiracies and overloads. In The Secret Agent, you go from a shop in Soho into a space like Greenwich Park, where the bomb incident takes place – quite an interesting journey in itself – and then, at... (Source)
Jessica Stern Yes, I thought I was being clever and unique and didn’t realise so many other people had made the connection. The book is based on an incident that actually did occur when an anarchist tried to blow up the Royal Observatory. In the novel, a group of hapless anarchists are trying to incite a rebellion. Their main concern is that British society is too liberal and they want to demonstrate that this kind of thing can occur. (Source)