Under Western Eyes
  • Publication Date: November 13, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551117218 / 1551117215
  • 414 pages; 8½" x 5½"

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Under Western Eyes

  • Publication Date: November 13, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551117218 / 1551117215
  • 414 pages; 8½" x 5½"

Joseph Conrad’s last overtly political novel, Under Western Eyes is considered to be one of his greatest works. Set in pre-Revolutionary Russia, the novel tells the story of a young student involuntarily involved in an assassination and explores themes of terrorism, surveillance, and the suffering of ordinary people caught up in political strife.

The critical introduction and appendices to this Broadview Edition provide context for Conrad’s political views, as well as Eastern European anarchism and terrorism. Appendices include Conrad’s letters on the novel’s composition, reviews of the novel, and contemporary accounts of a political assassination.


“A century after its publication, Under Western Eyes is as compelling and as relevant to our own age as it was to an earlier age of political terrorism. John Peters’ introduction and ample appendices offer a magisterial guide to the composition of this novel, which Conrad struggled to complete at the cost of his own mental health, and to the revolutionary struggles that were an integral part of the political, social, and intellectual crises of the decade leading up to the First World War. Like other Broadview Editions, which never skimp on the materials that make for a thorough understanding of the text, this edition of Under Western Eyes is the one to read.” — Sanford Schwartz, Pennsylvania State University

“This new edition of Under Western Eyes will significantly enhance our understanding of the novel. Peters’ introduction is lucid, informative, and extremely well written. The appendices are superbly chosen. Together, they clarify why and how Conrad wrote the novel, and why it was such a major challenge for him, artistically, personally, and psychologically. The scholarly apparatus is brilliantly done; it is concise, compelling, well written, and illuminating. Any and all readers of the novel, even those who think they already know it well, will benefit enormously from this edition.” — Stephen Ross, University of Victoria

Joseph Conrad: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Under Western Eyes

Appendix A: Selected Letters

  1. To John Galsworthy (6 January 1908)
  2. To J.B. Pinker (7 January 1908)
  3. To John Galsworthy (30 November 1908)
  4. To Stephen Reynolds (18 December 1908)
  5. To Perceval Gibbon (11 or 18 September 1909)
  6. To Perceval Gibbon (19 December 1909)
  7. To John Galsworthy (22 December 1909)
  8. To J.B. Pinker (12 January 1910)
  9. To John Galsworthy (17 May 1910)
  10. To John Galsworthy (15 October 1911)
  11. To Edward Garnett (20 October 1911)
  12. To Olivia Rayne Garnett (20 October 1911)
  13. To Macdonald Hastings (24 December 1916)

Appendix B: Contemporary Reviews

  1. Anonymous, “Betrayal,” The Pall Mall Gazette (11 October 1911)
  2. [Edward Garnett], “Mr. Conrad’s New Novel,” The Nation (21 October 1911)
  3. Anonymous, “New Novels,” The Athenæum (21 October 1911)
  4. Anonymous, “Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad,” The Academy (2 December 1911)
  5. Frederic Taber Cooper, “The Clothing of Thoughts and Some Recent Novels,” The Bookman (December 1911)
  6. Anonymous, “Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad,” Catholic World (January 1912)
  7. Anonymous, “Recent Fiction and the Critics,” Current Literature (February 1912)

Appendix C: Contemporary Accounts of the Assassination of de Pleve

  1. Anonymous, “Assassination of M. De Plehve: A Bomb Hurled in St. Petersburg,” The Times (29 July 1904)
  2. Anonymous, “The Murder of M. De Plehve,” The Times (1 August 1904)
  3. Anonymous, “The Murder of M. De Plehve (From Our Russian Correspondents),” The Times (2 August 1904)
  4. Anonymous, “The Assassination of M. de Plehve,” The Illustrated London News (6 August 1904)
  5. From E.J. Dillon, The Eclipse of Russia (1918)
  6. From Boris Savinkov, Memoirs of a Terrorist (1931)

Appendix D: Illustrations of the Assassination of de Pleve

  1. Viacheslav Konstantinovich de Pleve, Russian Minister of the Interior
  2. Egor Sazanov, Assassin of de Pleve
  3. de Pleve’s Exploded Carriage (view one)
  4. de Pleve’s Exploded Carriage (view two)

Appendix E: The Central Committee of the Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries, “To the Whole Russian Peasantry” (July 1904)

Appendix F: Joseph Conrad, “Autocracy and War” (1905)

Select Bibliography

John Peters is Associate Professor of English at the University of North Texas.