The Secret Agent

CONRAD, Joseph

CONRAD, Joseph The Secret Agent

Methuen, 1920.

Tenth edition. Original red cloth lettered in gilt to the spine. Author's presentation copy, inscribed on the front endpaper, "Catherine Willard from her friend Joseph Conrad 1st Jan 1921". A very good copy indeed with minor wear to the spine ends and some cracking to the front hinge.

Catherine Willard (1898-1954) was a noted screen actress and leading lady. She met Conrad in about 1920 through her mother, Grace, who at the time was an interior designer helping the Conrads furnish their new home, Oswalds, in Bishopsbourne, Kent. She was establishing herself as an actress and was about the same age as the Conrad's son, Borys. The latter suspected his parents of attempting to line her up as a future daughter in law. Conrad was writing his dramatic adaptation of The Secret Agent at the time and had Willard in mind for the heroine. He sent the finished manuscript of the play to her shortly before his death in 1924, and it is probable that he gave her this copy to familiarise herself with the novel, in the hope she would take the part, whilst he finished the play.
The Secret Agent has long been regarded as one of Conrad's finest and most enduring novels and was a key influence on both Graham Greene and Eric Ambler. It is notably rare in a presentation state, even as a reprint.
"The Secret Agent depicts the atmosphere of Edwardian London in a psychological thriller of the anarchist underworld. Conrad's wit and chivalrous magnanimity are at their airiest in this novel." (Connolly)

Stock ID: 32862


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