Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Continue Shopping
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Propaganda of the deed

Terrorism depends on exploiting the imagination of its victims, as Joseph Conrad knew all too well, says Will Self
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad Illustrated by Ben Jones (The Folio Society, £34.95)

There is a passage in Siegfried Sassoon’s wartime diaries in which he recounts the experience of sheltering in a dugout on the Western Front during a savage German bombardment, with a group of officers—and men— all of whom were reading the works of Joseph Conrad. At the time Conrad was one of a handful of writers capable of bridging the gap between paramount artistic ambition— repurposed for the machine age by Ezra Pound with his slogan, “Make it New!”—and the quotidian enjoyment of a rattling good yarn.

To read Conrad—and this is true in particular of The Secret Agent (1907)—is to find oneself, while apparently making clear headway, in fact, with all sails trimmed, beating hard against the wind.

In his most celebrated work, the novella Heart of Darkness, the novelist fashioned a tale-within-a-tale, in which the genocidal hell of the Belgian Congo was nested cosily on the deck of a pleasure yacht moored in the Thames estuary.

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Prospect Magazine - June 2019
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - June 2019
Or 499 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.10 per issue
Or 4099 points

View Issues

About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect's June issue: