Since the heyday of Ian Fleming’s fantasy superspy James Bond, the novels of John le Carré have held up to readers across the world a sombre, fascinating picture of decline, deception and ethical ambiguity. In this study, originally published in 1986, the first to include an interpretation of A Perfect Spy, Eric Homberger argues that within the tradition of the spy thriller of John Buchan and ‘Sapper’ a ‘space’ was created by Somerset Maugham, Eric Ambler and Graham Greene for serious writing. From The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1963) to The Little Drummer Girl (1983) and A Perfect Spy (1986), le Carré has used that space to make a searching investigation of the nature of post-Imperial Britain. In the process he has become the peer of Conrad and Greene in the recognition that the spy novel is a literary form capable of the highest artistic seriousness.
Table of Contents
General Editors’ Preface. Acknowledgements. A Note on the Texts. Introduction. 1. Spies and Spy Stories 2. Closed Communities 3. The Reasonable Man at War 4. Families. Bibliography.