Joseph Conrad's anarchists, together with Verloc the police informer, inhabit the seedy underworld of metropolitan London in a gripping plot of political intrigue and espionage. The story, in part inspired by the notorious attempt to blow up the Greenwich Observatory in 1894, probes the anarchy and violence underlying English society and relationships. The plot focuses on the marriage of Winnie Verloc to a "thoroughly domesticated" pornographer and spy. Looking back to Dickens in its bleak vision of London and forward to the works of Graham Greene, The Secret Agent is one of Conrad's indisputable masterpieces.
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