ENGL 210 Honors English
Espionage, or How to Play the Great Game
Section A: TU 9:30-10:45—Mark Crosby
Obtain Permission from the Honors Program in Leasure 007. In June 2010, the presence of a clandestine network of Russian agents operating on US soil was reported to the world. While the discovery of these spies seemed a throwback to the cold war era and the novels of John Le Carré, the shadowy world of espionage, or what Rudyard Kipling referred to as ‘the Great Game,’ continues to captivate the popular imagination. Hollywood movies such as the James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Mission Impossible series and Salt (an Angelina Jolie thriller about a network of Russian sleeper agents infiltrating the White House), as well as TV shows like The Americans, also about Russian spies posing as a suburban American family, evince our cultural fascination with spies.
In this course, we will focus on literary and cinematic representations of spies and the ethical and psychological implications of spying. We will read texts that cover a broad range of literary styles, from non-fiction news reports and memoirs, and fiction in the form of novels and short stories. We will also analyze three spy movies. These texts and films will allow us to examine the formal and ethical strategies used by individual authors and directors. Our goals include the development of techniques of literary analysis and the translation of these techniques into writing skills. During the semester, you will write and revise three long essays and several shorter assignments.