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Sometimes we have a tendency to think of terrorism as something particular to our age, perhaps in a way that previous eras appear to have been defined by war. And yet the precursors of modern-day terrorists – anarchists and nihilists – were dramatized in literary fiction before either of the world wars ever happened. Fyodor Dostoevsky’sDemons (1871) and Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent (1907), masterpieces of the early modern novel, are both concerned with underground revolutionaries. The insights of these authors make interesting reading for anyone who has struggled to comprehend random atrocities and the mindset behind them.

An essay on Dostoevsky, Joseph Conrad and the nature of terrorism  from TMO

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