ENGL 3028: Paranoia and Pleasure: Contemporary American Spy Novels

3 CreditsLiteratureOnline Available

Spy fiction emerged in Britain and the United States during the early 20th century. Since then, it proliferated thematic sub-genres such as Tom Clancy’s techno-thrillers, Vince Flynn’s CIA-trained assassin, James Rollins’ science disaster group, David Baldacci’s eccentric Camel Club, and Daniel Silva’s globe-trotting Israeli spy Gabriel Allon. Spy Fi is concerned with threats to the state--Nazis, Russians, rogue states, terrorist masterminds, and moles here at home. In contrast to British Spy Fi, famously represented by James Bond, the MI6 agent who plied his trade in sophisticated or exotic settings, American novels tend to feature cowboy protagonists with military or sports backgrounds and a penchant for spectacular violence. In this course, we will read novels and analyze the development of sub-genres, protagonists, plots, settings, and language; the shifting roles of female characters; the paranoiac ideologies that hover beneath the narratives or pop to the surface; and the target audiences and sales.

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B Average (3.095)Most Common: A (20%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

80 students
  • 2.91


  • 2.00


  • 3.45


  • 3.38


  • 1.60



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