Books

The Secret Agent

Joseph Conrad

London, 1886 and Mr Adolf Verloc runs a sex shop in the heart of Soho. Unbeknown to his loyal wife Winnie, Verloc also works for the Russian embassy, spying on a group of London anarchists.

The Russian government are furious with the English establishment’s indifference to the anarchist threat gripping the rest of Europe. So Verloc is assigned a mission: Blow up the Greenwich Observatory and make it look like a terrorist attack to provoke a crackdown. Should he fail, Verloc’s real identity as a spy will be exposed to his vicious comrades.

Verloc is forced to turn to the volatile anarchist, The Professor, to supply explosives for his mission – an act which attracts the attention of Chief Inspector Heat of Scotland Yard. Caught between the spy masters and the police, Verloc grooms Winnie’s young and vulnerable brother Stevie as his unsuspecting accomplice. When the truth and consequences emerge, Verloc must face Winnie’s wrath …

From the producers of the acclaimed Line of Duty, this riveting psychological thriller stars Toby Jones as Verloc and Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure as Winnie, with Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire) and Ian Hart (The Last Kingdom). Adapted by BAFTA award-winning Tony Marchant (Great Expectations) and directed by Emmy award-winning Charles McDougall (Hillsborough, House of Cards, The Good Wife), The Secret Agent will be broadcast on BBC One this summer.

The Secret Agent

Joseph Conrad

'The terrorist and the policeman both come from the same basket.'

Set in an Edwardian London underworld of terrorist bombers, spies, grotesques and fanatics, Conrad's dark, unsettling masterpiece asks if we ever really know others, or ourselves.

A new series of twenty distinctive, unforgettable Penguin Classics in a beautiful new design and pocket-sized format, with coloured jackets echoing Penguin's original covers.

Typhoon

Joseph Conrad

'She's done for...'

The crew aboard a ramshackle steamer faces a treacherous storm in this gripping tale, inspired by Conrad's own time at sea.

One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.

Victory

Joseph Conrad

Axel Heyst, a dreamer and a restless drifter, believes he can avoid suffering by cutting himself off from others. Then he becomes involved in the operation of a coal company on a remote island in the Malay Archipelago, and when it fails he turns his back on humanity once more. But his life alters when he rescues a young English girl, Lena, from Zangiacomo's Ladies' Orchestra and the evil innkeeper Schomberg, taking her to his island retreat. The affair between Heyst and Lena begins with her release, but the relationship shifts as Lena struggles to save Heyst from detachment and isolation.
Featuring arguably the most interesting hero created by Conrad, Victory is both a compelling tale of adventure and a perceptive study of the power of love.

To-morrow

Joseph Conrad

'It was as if the sea, breaking down the wall protecting all the homes of the town, had sent a wave over her head'

One of Conrad's most powerful, gripping stories

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924). Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, The Secret Sharer and Other Stories, Typhoon and Other Stories and Under Western Eyes are available in Penguin Classics.

The Secret Sharer and Other Stories

Joseph Conrad

A wonderful volume of Conrad's short fiction, reissued alongside the new film The Secret Sharer.

This volume of Conrad's short works explores a vast array of human experience in a variety of settings across the globe, from the sea to the colonial world, from the Far East and Africa to Europe. 'The Nigger of the "Narcissus"' shows life on the 'small planet' of a ship threatened by storms and anarchy, while 'Youth' and 'The Secret Sharer' portray men at sea confronting turning points in their lives. 'The Informer' reveals anarchy and activism in London, 'Il Conde' depicts a secret double life in Naples and 'The Duel' dramatizes conflicts and obsession in Napoleon's army. All show Conrad to be a continuously experimental writer, ranging across time and place and constantly reinventing the nature of storytelling.

This volume includes:
- The Nigger of the 'Narcissus'
- Youth, A Narrative
- The Secret Sharer
- The Lagoon
- An Outpost of Progress
- The Idiots
- The Informer
- Il Conde
- The Duel

Joseph Conrad was born in the Ukraine in 1857 and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. In 1874 he travelled to Marseilles, where he served in French merchant vessels before joining a British ship in 1878 as an apprentice. In 1886 he obtained British nationality. Eight years later he left the sea to devote himself to writing, publishing his first novel, Almayer's Folly, in 1895. The following year he settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes. He continued to write until his death in 1924.

Gail Fraser (introducer), author of Interweaving Patterns in the Works of Joseph Conrad (1988), has also written on Conrad's short fiction forThe Cambridge Companion to Joseph Conrad (1996) and Conradiana: A Journal of Joseph Conrad Studies.

Allan Simmons (co-editor) is author of Joseph Conrad (2006).

J.H. Stape (co-editor) is the author of The Several Lives of Joseph Conrad (1996).

Lord Jim

Joseph Conrad

'A murmur of dismay and horror ran through the crowd at the sight of that familiar token. The old nakhoda stared at it, and suddenly let out one great fierce cry, deep from the chest, a roar of pain and fury, as mighty as the bellow of a wounded bull, bringing great fear into men's hearts, by the magnitude of his anger and his sorrow'

Jim, first mate on board the Patna, is a simple and sensitive young man who dreams of becoming a hero. But when the Patna threatens to sink, Jim takes the cowardly way out and jumps clear. His unbearable guilt and shame at having violated the unwritten moral code of the sea lead him to become an exile in a remote Malay state. There he fashions a new identity for himself as the benevolent ruler of an exotic land - until his idyll is interrupted. Rich, moving and delicately crafted, Lord Jim is a compelling meditation on identity, guilt and lost honour.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Nostromo

Joseph Conrad

'There is something in a treasure that fastens upon a man's mind. He will pray and blaspheme and still persevere, and will curse the day he ever heard of it, and will let his last hour come upon him unawares, still believing that he missed it only by a foot. He will see it every time he closes his eyes. He will never forget it till he is dead - and even then ...'

In the exotic South American republic of Costaguana, the San Tomé silver mine provides opportunities for untold wealth and power. Yet amid the turbulence and brutality of Latin American politics, everyone associated with it - from the compromised English mine-owner Gould to the grasping businessman Holroyd, from the revolutionary Montero to the loyal and seemingly incorruptible worker Nostromo - becomes somehow irrevocably tainted. Nostromo is a grandiose epic, startlingly modern in its technique and political sophistication - and a masterpiece of tension, adventure and mystery.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad

The Penguin English Library Edition of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

'The mind of man is capable of anything - because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, rage - who can tell? - but truth - truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder - the man knows, and can look on without a wink'

Marlow, a seaman, tells of a journey up the Congo. His goal is the troubled European and ivory trader Kurtz. Worshipped and feared by invaders as well as natives, Kurtz has become a godlike figure, his presence pervading the jungle like a thick, obscuring mist. As his boat labours further upstream, closer and closer to Kurtz's extraordinary and terrible domain, so Marlow finds his faith in himself and civilization crumbling. Conrad's Heart of Darkness has been considered the most important indictment of the evils of imperialism written to date.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

The Secret Agent

Joseph Conrad

With a note by the author.

'Madness and despair! Give me that for a lever, and I'll move the world'

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, Verlac must deal with the repercussions of his actions.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction written in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels, to the beginning of the First World War.

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad

'Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire.'

Marlow, a seaman, tells of a journey up the Congo. His goal is the troubled European and ivory trader Kurtz. Worshipped and feared by invaders as well as natives, Kurtz has become a godlike figure, his presence pervading the jungle like a thick, obscuring mist. As his boat labours further upstream, closer and closer to Kurtz's extraordinary and terrible domain, so Marlow finds his faith in himself and civilization crumbling.

Youth

Joseph Conrad

'Then, on a fine moonlight night, all the rats left the ship.'

Five men sit around a mahogany table, drinking claret. As the wine loosens their tongues, one tells a story from his youth, recounting the strange voyage of the doomed ship Judea. Inspired by Conrad's own experiences at sea, Youth is a haunting tale about ill omens, the passing of time and the making of a man.

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY TIM BUTCHER

The silence of the jungle is broken only by the ominous sound of drumming. Life on the river is brutal and unknown threats lurk in the darkness. Marlow's mission to captain a steamer upriver into the dense interior leads him into conflict with the others who haunt the forest. But his decision to hunt down the mysterious Mr Kurtz, an ivory trader who is the subject of sinister rumours, leads him into more than just physical peril.

The Secret Agent

Joseph Conrad (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY GILES FODEN

London is under threat. It has become a haven for political exiles and anarchists. Frequent bomb threats and disturbances interrupt the lives of the city's inhabitants, who live in fear of the terrorists in their midst. One such terrorist is Verloc. He is the secret agent who is given the mission to strike right at the heart of London's pride by blowing up Greenwich Observatory. But his decision to drag his innocent family into the plot leads to tragic consequences on a more personal than political level.

Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad (and others)

A haunting and hugely influential Modernist masterpiece, the Penguin Classics edition of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is edited with an introduction by Owen Knowles.

Conrad's narrator Marlow, a seaman and wanderer, recounts his physical and psychological journey in search of the infamous ivory trader Kurtz: dying, insane, and guilty of unspeakable atrocities. Travelling upriver to the heart of the African continent, he gradually becomes obsessed by this enigmatic, wraith-like figure. Marlow's discovery of how Kurtz has gained his position of power over the local people involves him in a radical questioning, not only of his own nature and values, but also those of western civilisation. The inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola's Oscar-winning film Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness is a quintessentially modernist work exploring the limits of human experience and the nightmarish realities of imperialism.

Part of a major series of new editions of Conrad's most famous works in Penguin Classics, this volume contains Conrad's Congo Diary, a chronology, further reading, notes, a map of the Congo, a glossary and an introduction discussing the author's experiences in Africa, the narrative and symbolic complexities of Heart of Darkness and critical responses to the novel.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born in the Ukraine and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. After spending years in the French, and later the British Merchant Navy, Conrad left the sea to devote himself to writing. In 1896 he settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes.

If you enjoyed Heart of Darkness, you might like E.M. Forster's A Passage to India, also available in Penguin Classics.

'Seems to reach into the heart of Conrad himself'
Peter Ackroyd

The Nigger of the 'Narcissus' and Other Stories

Joseph Conrad (and others)

The volume includes: 'Youth'; 'The Secret Sharer'; 'The Lagoon'; 'An Outpost of Progress'; 'Il Conde'; 'The Duel'. The intention is a range of settings - we move from the sea to the colonial world, the Far East and Africa to England and then the Continent.

Typhoon and Other Stories

Joseph Conrad

In these four stories, written between 1900 and 1902, Joseph Conrad bid gradual farewell to his adventurous life at sea and began to confront the more daunting complexities of life on land in the twentieth century. In 'Typhoon' Conrad reveals, in the steadfast courage of an undemonstrative captain and the imaginative readiness of his young first mate, the differences between instinct and intelligence in a partnership vital to human survival. 'Falk', the companion sea-story, contrasts, as Conrad once put it, 'common sentimentalism with the frank standpoint of a more or less primitive man', a man with a conscience, however, about the girl he desires. In one of the 'land-stories' Conrad explores the utter isolation of an East European emigrant in England; in the other, the plight of a woman ironically trapped by the unwitting alliance of two retired widowers - each blind in his own way.

Lord Jim

Joseph Conrad (and others)

This compact novel, completed in 1900, as with so many of the great novels of the time, is at its baseline a book of the sea. An English boy in a simple town has dreams bigger than the outdoors and embarks at an early age into the sailor's life. The waters he travels reward him with the ability to explore the human spirit, while Joseph Conrad launches the story into both an exercise of his technical prowess and a delicately crafted picture of a character who reaches the status of a literary hero.

The Secret Agent

Joseph Conrad (and others)

The Secret Agent is Joseph Conrad's dark satire on English society, edited with an introduction and notes by Michael Newton in Penguin Classics.

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.

This edition of The Secret Agent contains a chronology, further reading, notes and maps of London and Greenwich. In his introduction, Michael Newton discusses London's real-life world of political anarchy, and Conrad's portrayal of the Verlocs' marriage.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born in the Ukraine and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. After spending years in the French, and later the British Merchant Navy, Conrad left the sea to devote himself to writing. In 1896 he settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes.

If you enjoyed The Secret Agent, you might like Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Demons, also available in Penguin Classics.

'A brilliant book, one of the greatest works of modern irony'
Malcolm Bradbury

Biography

Joseph Conrad's major works (all published by Penguin Classics) include Heart of Darkness, Nostromo, Lord Jim,Under Western Eyes, The Secret Agent and Typhoon.