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The realities of spy fiction

By Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones
When talking about spy fiction, people sometimes confuse verisimilitude and reality. Spy novelists who use the words “friends” and “cousins” to describe our American collaborators are engaging in verbal verisimilitude. When John Le Carré tells us in his latest novel A Delicate Truth that the business of secret intelligence is now being privatized, he’s conveying an important reality.

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Edmund Gosse: nonconformist?

By Michael Newton
“The trouble with you,” an old friend recently declared to me, “is that you have always been a conformist.” He meant that I had never undertaken that necessary radical break with my parents and their ideals and interests. Without such a generational rupture, it seemed to him, nobody could claim to be a fully independent, realised person. While he had been dropping acid and dropping (temporarily) out of college, I’d been reclining under a tree with John Keats. And surely there was nothing rebellious in that.

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