The Spy Story

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 1987 - Literary Criticism - 259 pages
Why has the spy story become such a popular form of entertainment in our time? In this fascinating account of the genre's evolution, John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg explore the social, political, and artistic sources of the spy story's wide appeal. They show how, in a time of bewildering political and corporate organization, the spy story has become increasingly relevant, the secret agent hero expressing the feelings of divided and ambiguous loyalties with which many individuals face the modern world.

In addition to a general history of the genre, Cawelti and Rosenberg present in-depth analyses of the work of certain writers who have given the spy story its shape, among them John Buchan, Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, and John le Carré. The Spy Story also includes an extensive appendix, featuring a literary and historical bibliography of espionage and clandestinity, a list of the best spy novels and films, a catalog of major spy writers and their heroes, and a selection of novels on espionage themes written by major twentieth-century authors and public figures.

Written in a lively style that reflects the authors' enthusiasm for this intriguing form, The Spy Story will be read with pleasure by devotees of the genre as well as students of popular culture.


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A Brief
The Forms of the Spy Novel
John Buchan
Eric Ambler
Ian Fleming
The Complex Vision
Recent Espionage
the Spy Story

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About the author (1987)

John G. Cawelti, professor of English at the University of Kentucky, is the author of Adventure, Mystery, and Romance, also published by the University of Chicago Press. Bruce A. Rosenberg is professor of American Civilization and English at Brown University.

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