ENG 392A: Genres: Advanced Topics: Spy Fiction Professor Flury
The course will trace the development of modern spy fiction, beginning around the time of World War I up to the present. Although there are precursors of the genre in the 19th century (for example, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Spy, 1821), and spying is by no means only a modern phenomenon (there is already a spy, Dolon, in Homer’s Illiad), the modern spy novel is very much entangled in the political, historical, economic, and social developments of the 20th century—especially with regard to imperialism, World War I, World War II, the Cold War and global capitalism. We will study, among other things, the stylistic particularities and development of this largely eurocentric genre (complex plotting, polyglottery, the import of surveillance, the lurid, etc.), the spy novel’s place within the history of the novel (for example, its designation as popular fiction—or so-called genre fiction), the genre’s construction of a culture of masculinity, and its infringements on, and appropriations of, other genres (like detective fiction). Expect to read between 200 and 250 pages a week.