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2020-09-20 07:15:33
Conrad, Joseph
The Secret Agent: A Drama in Three Acts.
London: Privately Printed for Subscribers only by T. Werner Laurie Ltd, 1923. Signed limited first edition, number 441 of 1000 copies of one of the author's masterpieces and the first modern novel of counter-espionage. Octavo, half vellum over boards, frontispiece, tissue guard. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. In the only novel Conrad set in London, The Secret Agent communicates a profoundly ironic view of human affairs. The story is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894 masterminded by Verloc, a Russian spy working for the police, and ostensibly a member of an anarchist group in Soho. His masters instruct him to discredit the anarchists in a humiliating fashion, and when his evil plan goes horribly awry, Verloc must deal with the repercussions of his actions. While rooted in the Edwardian period, Conrad's tale remains strikingly contemporary, with its depiction of Londoners gripped by fear of the terrorists living in their midst. F.R. Levis would later describe the book as "indubitably a classic and a masterpiece", noting that the final scene between Adolf and Winnie Verloc was "one of the most astonishing triumphs of genius in fiction." Made into the 1996 film starring Bob Hoskins, Patricia Arquette, Gerard Depardieu, Robin Williams and Christian Bale. Listed by Modern Library as one of the 100 greatest novels of the twentieth century. [Attributes: First Edition; Signed Copy; In Dust Jacket]
Bookseller: Raptis Rare Books [United States]
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