ENGL 210 - Honors English
The Great Game
Section B: TU 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Mark Crosby, Instructor
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 and Robert Ludlum, the shadowy world of espionage, or what Rudyard Kipling referred to as ‘the Great Game,’ captivates the popular imagination. TV shows like Alias and 24, 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 that was, coincidently, released in 2010 – evince our cultural fascination with spies.
In this course, we will focus on representations of spies and the ethical and psychological implications of spying. As literary scholars, we are familiar with some of the terms and practices associated with spying: we decipher and decode texts and collect information from indirect and typically unreliable sources. We will read texts that cover a broad range of literary styles, from non-fiction news reports and opinion pieces, and fiction in the form of novels and short stories. These texts will allow us to examine the formal and ethical strategies used by individual authors. 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. You will also be required to keep a blog on reading and writing practices.