Counterintelligence Literature: Cold War American Espionage and Postmodern Fiction
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
This project examines the rise of narratives about the American intelligence community in the mid- to late-twentieth century. In particular, I define a genre that I term counterintelligence literature, works of fiction by postmodernist authors that seek to interrupt the exchange of ideas between the burgeoning intelligence community and the body of popular narratives celebrating its policies. By tracing how canonical authors like Don DeLillo, Ralph Ellison, Joan Didion, and John Barth manipulate the tropes of popular narratives to critique midcentury interventionist foreign policy and the developing national security state, this project reveals the role that popular fiction plays in influencing public opinion and the potential for literature to pose timely political challenges.