CURRENT CFP (#11)

CALL FOR ARTICLES, REVIEWS, AND INTERVIEWS

From

TEXT MATTERS: A JOURNAL OF LITERATURE, THEORY AND CULTURE

No. 11

LITERATURE AND SECURITY

Edit­ed by

Liam Fran­cis Gearon (Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford)

In order to delin­eate this inno­v­a­tive field, there is a more detailed Call text than usu­al – the text here is adapt­ed and drawn from

Liam Fran­cis Gearon (2019)

A LANDSCAPE OF LIES IN THELAND OF LETTERS:

The Lit­er­ary Car­tog­ra­phy of Secu­ri­ty and Intel­li­gence”

from his forth­com­ing:

Gearon (ed.) (Octo­ber 2020) Rout­ledge Inter­na­tion­al Hand­book of Uni­ver­si­ties, Secu­ri­ty and Intel­li­gence Stud­ies

Lit­er­a­ture is a lie which seeks to tell a truth. Espi­onage is a trade depen­dent on deceit. Where the two pro­fes­sions meet, the dis­sem­bling knows no lim­it. As David Corn­well, the nom-de-plume of John le Car­ré has writ­ten: “I’m a liar, born to lying, bred to it, trained to it by an indus­try that lies for a liv­ing, prac­tised in it as a nov­el­ist” (Ker­ridge, 2015). The curi­ous­ly entan­gled rela­tion­ship between lit­er­a­ture, secu­ri­ty and intel­li­gence is, then, not sur­pris­ing­ly replete with twists and turns of plot and an odd array of dual-fac­ing char­ac­ters.

In the com­plex inter­play of spy fact and spy fic­tion, many prac­ti­tion­ers of the for­mer have engaged in writ­ing the lat­ter. Eric Ambler, John Bing­ham, John Buchan, Ian Flem­ing, Gra­ham Greene, John le Car­ré, Eliza Man­ning­ham Buller, Som­er­set Maugh­am and Arthur Ran­some are well-known to the list (Bur­ton, 2016; Hannabuss, 2016). And for writ­ers of spy fic­tion who – except per­haps in their autho­r­i­al dreams – were nev­er spies, the real and imag­ined adven­tures and mis­ad­ven­tures of actu­al spooks by neces­si­ty pro­vide the sto­ry­line.

From what­ev­er per­spec­tive we look, the inter­face between lit­er­a­ture, secu­ri­ty and intel­li­gence is rarely inci­den­tal. In many cas­es, books, like oth­er forms of media, have been used as a direct part of ide­o­log­i­cal and intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the his­to­ry of pro­pa­gan­da, and it is the lit­er­ary col­lec­tive as much as par­tic­u­lar lit­er­ary and aca­d­e­m­ic authors who are sub­jects of secu­ri­ty inter­est, whether the pro­tec­tion of states or polit­i­cal doc­trine (Chom­sky, 2008; Her­man and Chom­sky, 1995; John­son and Par­ta, 2014; Kind-Kovacs, 2014; Nel­son, 2003; Par­ni­ca, 2016; Wilkin­son, 2009). Books and their authors are often there­fore an inte­gral part of the tar­get­ed action as per­ceived phys­i­cal or ide­o­log­i­cal threat. Nazi Ger­many, the Sovi­et Union and Maoist Chi­na are impor­tant cas­es here. Indeed, dic­ta­to­r­i­al regimes the world over have long tar­get­ed authors along­side intel­lec­tu­als who are the first threats to be elim­i­nat­ed or under­mined, either through cul­tur­al and social exclu­sion through cen­sor­ship and impris­on­ment or through the expe­di­ents of exe­cu­tion (Pow­er, 2010). Read, for instance, the chill­ing dou­ble-enten­dre of Bytwek’s (2004) Bend­ing Spines for an account of how a syn­the­sis of books and bru­tal­i­ty were at the root of Nazi and oth­er forms of total­i­tar­i­an­ism.

While pro­pa­gan­da itself can be con­sid­ered a weapon of war, books and bomb­shells often share then the same ide­o­log­i­cal tra­jec­to­ry, one rein­forc­ing or even antic­i­pat­ing the oth­er, most par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing times of war (Bernays, 2004; Cooke, 2014; Welch, 2015, 2016). It is why Tay­lor (2003) calls pro­pa­gan­da the “muni­tions of the mind,” and O’Shaughnessy (2005) defines it as a “weapon of mass seduc­tion.” The cul­tur­al always forms a back­drop to con­flict (also O’Shaughnessy, 2017, 2018).

We invite arti­cles (between 3000 and 5000 words), as well as reviews and inter­views, on the sub­ject.

Please send pro­pos­als (with the sub­ject line, PROPOSAL, TEXT MATTERS) of no more than 400 words to:  

liam.gearon@education.ox.ac.uk and  text.matters@uni.lodz.pl

Dead­line for pro­pos­als: 1 Decem­ber 2019

Dead­line for final essays: 1 May 2020 Dead­line for revi­sions of essays: 1 Novem­ber 2020