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Thread: A Contemporarily Relevant Classic

  1. #1
    Jeff Knowles

    A Contemporarily Relevant Classic

    Conrad's The Secret Agent (Don't get excited, I can't underline from my browser...) is the brilliantly written story of the life of an anarchist in England at the turn of the century. Mr. Verlock is an agent for the French embassy in London, yet, at the same time, an activist for an anarchist revolution. Verlock lives with his young wife Winnie and her slightly disabled kid brother Stevie, atop a store on a run down street in London. The plot takes place around 1895, a time when anarchists in England carried out terrorist acts for their cause. Around 1895, Britain considered Anarchists common terrorists. Though most believe that Conrad portrays Verlock as a terrible person, one finds that by following both Verlock, and the investigation into a failed plot to destroy a London observatory, Conrad really displays the ease with which one's beliefs can change into terrorist plots. Thus, Verlock is not really portrayed as such a bad person. This book, especially relevant in today's age of terrorism, a wonderful read, and full of symbolism, will make you

  2. #2
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Reading, England
    It's been a long time since I read this book, but I was surprised how contemporary the issues were, in particular - terrorism. I seem to remember reading in the notes that part of the story was based on an actual attempt to blow up the Greenwich Observatory but by Irish republicans. Verloc seemed like a fairly lazy terrorist, but he was callous enough.

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