English 190

Research Seminar: The Spy Novel


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2020 JanMohamed, Abdul R.
MW 5-6:30

Book List

Buchan, John: The Thirty-Nine Steps; Fleming, Ian: From Russia With Love; Greene, Graham: The Quiet American; Ignatius, David: The Quantum Spy; Le Carre, John: Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy; Ludlum, Robert: The Bourne Identity ; Nguyen, Viet: The Sympathizer; Quinn, Kate: The Alice Network; Silva, Daniel: The Kill Artist; Wein, Elizabeth: Code Name Verity; Wilkinson, Lauren: American Spy

Description

This course will survey a variety of spy novels, comparing their diverse modalities.  We will explore the genre’s origins that lie in values dictated by a traditional white masculinity, from the machismo of a James Bond to the quiet, deliberate sleuthing of a George Smiley.  These characters and the values they embody will be contrasted with the very different values and sensibilities that characterize feminist spy novels.  The course will also contrast the invariably “white” protagonist with some rare non-white spies.  If time permits we will occasionally also contrast the literary texts with their cinematic avatars.  In addition to exploring the nature and structures of the deep unconscious paranoia that drives all spy novels, the course will also compare aesthetic characteristics of these novels: plot structures, narrative devices, point of view, prose styles, etc. 

Texts will be selected from the above list.  The final list will be posted prior to the beginning of classes.

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