Sunday, December 20, 2020

Appreciation …

… John le Carré didn't invent the spy novel – he joined a tradition and made it new again. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

John le Carré didn’t invent the literary spy novel. He joined a tradition, and made it new and invigorating. It’s a very British tradition, as well. No other literary culture has embraced the espionage novel as we have done. You can argue that the first proponent was Joseph Conrad with his books The Secret Agent (1907) and Under Western Eyes (1911). W Somerset Maughamwrote spy fiction, as did Eric Ambler and Lawrence Durrell (Mountolive is a spy novel, in its elaborate way) and, also, pre-eminently, Graham Greene.

1 comment:

  1. Harrumph. James Fenimore Cooper published The Spy in 1849. It reads like a treatment for a Marx Brothers movie, but it had literary aspirations, which I think qualifies it as a "literary spy novel."