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Intelligence Studies in Britain and the USHistoriography since 1945$
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Christopher R. Moran and Christopher J. Murphy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748646272

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748646272.001.0001

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Reconceiving Realism

Reconceiving Realism

Intelligence Historians and the Fact/Fiction Dichotomy

(p.146) Chapter 7 Reconceiving Realism
Intelligence Studies in Britain and the US

Simon Willmetts

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines both the methodological and epistemological implications of the fact/fiction dichotomy in historical approaches to intelligence. It argues that the divide is an artificial one, which has committed intelligence scholars to a narrow understanding of spy fiction as ‘pure fantasy’. As such, other modes of interpretation, particularly the approaches of cultural and historical theorists, such as Fredric Jameson, Hayden White and Dominick LaCapra, who provide valuable insights into the relationship between history and fiction, have been overlooked at the expense of a value-laden criterion of analysis that sees little historical worth in spy fiction, beyond the extent to which it has distorted popular perceptions.

Keywords:   popular culture, intelligence history, spy fiction, Fredric Jameson, Hayden White, Dominick LaCapra

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