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The Success Story of Communist Literature: the Spy Novel
The Success Story of Communist Literature: the Spy Novel

Author(s): Moris Fadel
Subject(s): Theory of Literature
Published by: Centre for Advanced Study Sofia (CAS)
Keywords: crime fiction; spy fiction; total conspiracy

Summary/Abstract: The text examines one paradox: how the spy fiction (a genre which is subordinated to the official ideology of the socialist state) generates great reader’s interest in a period (the 1960s – the second half of 1980s), when the resistance against the regime gains strength. The text is divided into three parts. At the first part the spy literature is compared to the crime fiction. Here is problematized the leading research paradigm, connected with the study of the detective stories: the understanding that they are related to modernity. In contrast to that paradigm we propose the idea that in the crime fiction are intertwined both modern and premodern elements. These elements are overcome in the espionage novels, which are impossible without the modern state. At the second part of the study the spy friction is presented at the background of the socialist juridical system. It turns out that there is a deep proximity between the socialist laws and the espionage stories: in both there is suspicion of violence against the state if the crime is not a result of an accident, but is a product of a careful planning. At the third part the two most popular in Bulgaria series of spy novels are analyzed in detail: Bogomil Rainov’s works with main personage Emil Boev and Andrei Gulyashki’s prose dedicated to the adventures of Avakum Zahov. Here are described the mechanisms by means of which the spy fiction exercises influence upon the reader. The most important device of the genre is its ability to provoke and manage one of the constant suspicions during the 20th century and today: the suspicion that the world is a captive of a hidden, global conspiracy.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 9
  • Page Range: 1-25
  • Page Count: 25
  • Language: English