Book Comparison

Assignment Requirements

 

Answer any one of the following questions by 12pm (midnight) on Wednesday June 25th

Question One
“Police,” he suggested confidently.
“The police aren’t for that,” observed Mrs Verloc, cursorily, hurrying on her way.
“Not for that?” he mumbled, resigned but surprised […] “What are they for then, Winn? What are they for? Tell me.” (The Secret Agent, Ch. 8)
Compare how any two authors depict the function, method and ethics of government espionage.

Question Two
“There’s but poor comfort in being able to declare that any given act of violence – damaging property or destroying life – is not the work of anarchism at all, but of something else altogether – some species of authorized scoundrelism” (The Assistant Commissioner in The Secret Agent, Ch. 7)
Compare how any two writers depict government espionage as protecting and / or endangering society.

Question Three
“There are certain things I like in this book: for example the predicament of the agent with scruples” (Graham Greene, ‘Introduction’ to The Confidential Agent [1939] (London: Vintage, 2002), p. x.
Compare how any two authors explore the predicaments of agents with moral scruples.

Question Four
“He knew he could trust himself. He knew nothing else […] Only each individual knew that one person was true or false, Mr K. knew what Mr. K. meant to do with those papers. The manageress knew what she intended. You couldn’t answer for anybody but yourself. He said, ‘Those orders were not given to me. I shall keep the papers.” (Graham Greene, The Confidential Agent, p. 83).
Compare how any two authors depict the isolation of espionage.

Question Five
“Double agents act out of a wide variety of motivations, sometimes psychopathic ones like a masochistic desire for punishment by both services. Others have financial, religious, political, or vindictive motives. The last are often the best double agents: they get pleasure out of deceiving their comrades by their every act day after day […] Experience suggests that some people who take to the double agent role-perhaps a majority of willing ones, in fact have a number of traits in common with the con-man” F. M. Begoum, “Observations on the Double Agent” <<https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol6no1/html/v06i1a05p_0001.htm>>
Compare how any two authors depict the psychology, morality and technique of the double agent (You may wish to concentrate upon Verloc in Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Mole Gerald in le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy).

Question Six
“His [ie: George Smiley’s] emotions in performing the work were mixed, and irreconcilable”, John le Carré, Call for the Dead [1961] (London: Penguin, 1989), Ch 1, p. 4).
“At this point, his mood could best be compared with that of a scientist who senses by instinct that he is on the brink of a discovery and is awaiting any minute the logical connection”, John le Carré, Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, Ch 23, p. 248).
In the light of the above quotations, compare how any two authors depict the figure of the spy-catcher. You may wish to concentrate on any two of the following: Sherlock Holmes; the Assistant Commissioner (in Conrad’s The Secret Agent); George Smiley (in Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy).

Question Seven
“Safe houses I have known, though Guillam, looking round the gloomy flat. He could write of them the way a commercial traveller could write about hotels” (Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, Ch. 34, p. 353)
Compare how two authors depict the environments of espionage.

Literary London: The London Spy Assessment Exercise

Answer any one of the following questions by 12pm (midnight) on Wednesday June 26th

 

Question One

“Police,” he suggested confidently.

“The police aren’t for that,” observed Mrs Verloc, cursorily, hurrying on her way.

“Not for that?” he mumbled, resigned but surprised […] “What are they for then, Winn? What are they for? Tell me.” (The Secret Agent, Ch. 8)

Compare how any two authors depict the function, method and ethics of government espionage.

 

Question Two

“There’s but poor comfort in being able to declare that any given act of violence – damaging property or destroying life – is not the work of anarchism at all, but of something else altogether – some species of authorized scoundrelism” (The Assistant Commissioner in The Secret Agent, Ch. 7)

Compare how any two writers depict government espionage as protecting and / or endangering society.

 

Question Three

“There are certain things I like in this book: for example the predicament of the agent with scruples” (Graham Greene, ‘Introduction’ to The Confidential Agent [1939] (London: Vintage, 2002), p. x.

Compare how any two authors explore the predicaments of agents with moral scruples.

 

Question Four

“He knew he could trust himself. He knew nothing else […] Only each individual knew that one person was true or false, Mr K. knew what Mr. K. meant to do with those papers. The manageress knew what she intended. You couldn’t answer for anybody but yourself. He said, ‘Those orders were not given to me. I shall keep the papers.” (Graham Greene, The Confidential Agent, p. 83).

Compare how any two authors depict the isolation of espionage.

 

 

 

Question Five

“Double agents act out of a wide variety of motivations, sometimes psychopathic ones like a masochistic desire for punishment by both services. Others have financial, religious, political, or vindictive motives. The last are often the best double agents: they get pleasure out of deceiving their comrades by their every act day after day […] Experience suggests that some people who take to the double agent role-perhaps a majority of willing ones, in fact have a number of traits in common with the con-man” F. M. Begoum, “Observations on the Double Agent” <<https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol6no1/html/v06i1a05p_0001.htm>>

Compare how any two authors depict the psychology, morality and technique of the double agent (You may wish to concentrate upon Verloc in Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Mole Gerald in le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy).

 

Question Six

“His [ie: George Smiley’s] emotions in performing the work were mixed, and irreconcilable”, John le Carré, Call for the Dead [1961] (London: Penguin, 1989), Ch 1, p. 4).

“At this point, his mood could best be compared with that of a scientist who senses by instinct that he is on the brink of a discovery and is awaiting any minute the logical connection”, John le Carré, Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, Ch 23, p. 248).

In the light of the above quotations, compare how any two authors depict the figure of the spy-catcher. You may wish to concentrate on any two of the following: Sherlock Holmes; the Assistant Commissioner (in Conrad’s The Secret Agent); George Smiley (in Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy).

 

Question Seven

“Safe houses I have known, though Guillam, looking round the gloomy flat. He could write of them the way a commercial traveller could write about hotels” (Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, Ch. 34, p. 353)

Compare how two authors depict the environments of espionage.

 

 

 

Guidelines

Answers will be rewarded for relevance to the specific question, cogency, attention

to verbal and stylistic detail, and identification of subtle or less immediately obvious points.

 

While you do not need to write an exactly equal amount on both authors please engage with both in some depth. You are also free to draw on any author whom you consider relevant.

 

Word-count

1,500-2000 words (answers should be at least 1,500 words long but will not be penalised for

exceeding the upper limit).

Secondary reading

You are free to read secondary sources but there is no requirement to do so. I can recommend secondary material for anyone who would like to kick-start their own thinking in this way. No one will be rewarded for simply transcribing or paraphrasing arguments that other critics have already made – in fact I recommend only quoting someone else’s argument when you are going to either adapt it, extend its scope, or query it. However where you argument is dependent on having read someone else’s work you must quote and cite them – failure to do so will be regarded as plagiarism.

 

Presentation

You should be consistent in your layout and use of citations but are free to use whatever

system you are accustomed to employing.

 

Submission and penalties

Please submit via ‘turnitin’ and as an email attachment to <yeatsg@regents.ac.uk> by 12pm (midnight) on Wednesday June 26th

Please also keep a back-up copy in case there is a technical problem with the submission process.

An essay submitted up to 48 hours (two days) late cannot be awarded more than a B-, an essay submitted between 48 and 96 hours late (two – four days) late cannot be awarded more than a C. Any essay more than four days late will be awarded an F.

 

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