The story in one of Joseph Conrad’s finest novels, unlike most of his works that are set in remote and exotic lands and seas, unfolds in the very heart of civilisation during the age of steam and steal, namely: Victorian London. Because of its theme, it has sparked a new wave of keen interest in the 21st century. The book in question – The Secret Agent– has been made available in the Wolne Lektury (Free Readings) library as a result of cooperation of the Modern Poland Foundation with the Krakow Festival Office and Krakow UNESCO City of Literature.
A few words about The Secret Agent…
As a result of anarchists’ “propaganda by deed” in the late 19th century, Europe and America became the arena of spectacular attacks. During just one decade the anarchists assassinated the president of France, the prime minister of Spain, the empress of Austria-Hungary, the king of Italy and the president of the United States. However, public opinion was more shocked by the terrorist bombings carried out in governmental buildings, theatres and cafes, made easier by Nobel’s new invention: dynamite. A conversation about a mysterious attack by an immigrant anarchist, an attack on a symbol, inspired Conrad to write a psychological drama in which the political thriller-based plot prompts an in-depth analysis of motives and passions underlying violent acts.
The novel available in the Wolne Lektury library was edited and annotated by Zofia Chemperek, Paulina Choromańska and Wojciech Kotwica. Read it here.
…and about its author
The year 2017 has been declared the Year of Joseph Conrad Korzeniowski by the Parliament of the Republic of Poland to honour one of the most prominent English writers of Polish descent. This year marks the 160th anniversary of the birth of the writer, who tied his professional life to the sea and, having first worked on French ships, he retired from naval service in 1894 and pursued literary career. His first novel Almayer’s Folly saw print as early as 1895. His literature is considered outstanding for its coexisting Romantic and Positivist elements. Conrad wrote in English while most of the Polish translations (including that of The Secret Agent) were made by his cousin, Aniela Zagórska.