This critical and contextual study guide by a very distinguished critic of Modernist literature sheds new light on Conrad's topical novel of espionage and terrorism.
Three Formats: PDF, ePub and Mobi
A biographical chapter relates The Secret Agent to Conrad's career. Next, the work's process of composition is discussed, and differences between the serial, the book version and the stage version are explained. An analysis of the plot gives particular attention to its ironic strategies and to the character of the narrator. Various themes and contexts are explored: conceptions of time and topography; anarchistic and Fenian politics; anti-Semitism; evolution, Lombroso and criminology. Literary influences and analogues are illustrated: Dickens, Zola, Ibsen, terrorist fiction. The characters are considered from various viewpoints. A critical survey summarises the work's reception since its first publication. The bibliography provides a guide to further reading.
About the author
Cedric Watts, Research Professor at Sussex University, has written six books on Conrad (including A Preface to Conrad and The Deceptive Text) and has edited ten volumes of Conrad's fiction (among them Nostromo and Heart of Darkness).
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