Joseph Conrad

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Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was a Polish-born British author, perhaps best known for his work Heart of Darkness. He was also the author of several other influential novels: Lord Jim, Nostromo, The Secret Sharer, and The Nigger of the Narcissus. Conrad was originally a sailor before he turned to writing. Remarkably, English was Conrad's third language after Polish and French.

His novels are a valuable insight into the workings and ideas of the Age of Colonialism, including the scramble for Africa.

His novel, The Secret Agent (1907), is the story of a gang of anarchist-revolutionaries in late 19th century London. One of them is paid by a foreign embassy to be an informer, but then is coerced into instigating a bombing in London; the motive force is the displeasure felt by the foreign embassy personnel that England is harbouring these individuals considered dangerous; the informer must find someone to plant the bomb. The person who makes the bombs is 'The Professor', whose life's dream is to perfect a reliable detonator, says of the USA, "...They have more character over there, and their character is essentially anarchistic. Fertile ground for us, the States--very good ground. The great Republic has the root of the destructive matter in her. The collective temperament is lawless. Excellent. They may shoot us down, but--"[1]


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