R417 Our Kind of Writer: Two Masterworks by John Le Carré
Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, Sept. 22–Nov. 10
Instructor: Kay Menchel
John Le Carré was that rarest of things: an enormously popular author and a great writer—one of the definitive and most influential voices of his era. His books not only educated millions of readers about the grueling exigencies of international espionage, but they are also profound portraits of Cold War Europe and ingeniously constructed interrogations of the psychic toll that spying takes. In this course, we will look at two of his most celebrated masterpieces, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1963), and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974). We will consider how the thriller genre allowed Le Carré to dramatize England’s troubled moral atmosphere in the decades after World War II. We will attempt to make sense of his famously Byzantine plots. Finally, we will discuss Le Carré’s myriad stylistic accomplishments and the staggering comprehensiveness of his gaze, all of which led Ian McEwan to call him “perhaps the most significant novelist of the second half of the 20th century in Britain.”
Kay Menchel, who grew up in Yorkshire, England, is a lawyer who also holds an MA in English literature from George Mason University. She has taught numerous literature classes and always enjoys sharing her passion for English literature with OLLI members.