Conversations with John Le Carré

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 180 pages
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John le Carré (b. 1931) is the pen name of David Cornwell. Under that pseudonym he has become the leading writer of contemporary spy thrillers. Tremendously popular and deeply influential, his novels feature a level of psychological depth and narrative complexity that makes them as rewarding as the most highly-touted literary fiction.

Weaving incisive political commentary, razor-sharp satire, and suspense, his work reflects upon and dissects both Cold War anxieties and the complications of social relationships. Several of his novels-including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Russia House, and The Tailor of Panama-have been adapted into award-winning movies.

In Conversations with John le Carré, the acclaimed writer talks about his craft, the nature of language, the literature that he loves, and the ways in which his own life influences the creation of, and characters within, his novels. He worked for the British Foreign Office in the 1960s, and although his works are dazzlingly informed about global politics, le Carré's voice is distinctively British.

His love of language, particularly the ways in which it can reveal or conceal thought and action, is evident in every piece here. In interviews with George Plimpton, Melvyn Bragg, and others, le Carré proves himself to be quick witted, engaging, and deeply passionate. Though often self-deprecating in his humor, le Carré reveals his commitment to the spy thriller and tells us why he thinks it is just as capable of exploring human consciousness as any other literary genre.

Matthew J. Bruccoli is Jefferies Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. He has written or edited thirty volumes on F. Scott Fitzgerald, including the standard biography, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur.

Judith S. Baughman works in the department of English at the University of South Carolina. With Bruccoli she is co-editor of Conversations with F. Scott Fitzgerald (University Press of Mississippi).

 

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User Review  - gmillar - LibraryThing

One of the "Literary Conversation" Series. My favourite quote from the scripted responses to interviewers is one that came after a question about discipline/violence in the British School System of ... Read full review

Contents

The Writer like the Spy Is an Illusionist Vera Volmane
3
Violent Image Alan Watson
10
Schoolmaster Who Came in From the Cold James Cameron
18
The Writer Who Came in From the Cold
27
John le Carre Talking Melvyn Bragg
33
The Secret Life of John le Carre Godfrey Hodgson
41
Hong Kong Was a Halfway House Michael Barber
47
Lamplighters Moles and Others of That
53
The Secret Life of John le Carre Stephen Schiff
93
The Thawing of the Old Spymaster Alvin P Sanoff
107
What Would I Be Like If I Were He? Der Spiegel
112
A Session Between John le Carre
122
We Distorted Our Own Minds Walter Isaacson and James Kelly
128
John le Carre on Deception Storytelling
136
The Art of Fiction George Plimpton
145
Secrets and Lies Alan Franks
162

The Secret World of John le Carre Miriam Gross
60
An Interview with John le Carre
72
Spying on a Spymaker Pierre Assouline
86
David Cornwell Discusses His Novel Absolute Friends Which Was Written
171
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About the author (2004)

Matthew J. Bruccoli, Emily Brown Jefferies Professor of English at the University of South Carolina, is the leading authority on F. Scott Fitzgerald and the authors of the House of Scribner.

Judith S. Baughman works in the Department of English at the University of South Carolina. With Bruccoli, she is also coeditor of Conversations with F. Scott Fitzgerald (University Press of Mississippi).