Offered:

  • 2022 Term 3 (Aug-Sep).

Date & Time:

  • Eight consecutive two-hour sessions per Term.

  • First class meets Wednesdays beginning 3 August 2022, 11:00am-1:00pm (NZ time)

  • The last class meets on Wednesday 21 September 2022.

Time Zone equivalents:

  • Honolulu, Hawai’i: 1:00-3:00pm, Tuesday 2 August 2022

  • US Pacific: 4:00-6:00pm, Tuesday 2 August 2022

  • US Central: 6:00-8:00pm, Wednesday 3 August 2022

  • US Eastern: 7:00-9:00pm, Wednesday 3 August 2022

  • London, UK: 12:00-2:00am, Wednesday 3 August 2022

  • Bangkok, Thailand: 6:00-8:00am, Wednesday 3 August 2022

  • Singapore: 7:00-9:00am, Wednesday 3 August 2022

  • Sydney Australia: 9:00-11:00am, Wednesday 3 August 2022

Description:

  • This course is a survey of spy thriller fiction published between 1880 and 2000. It sets the books in their historical context and shows how their depiction of Russian/Soviet characters as heroes or as villains reflects the politics of the time in which the books were published. Spy thrillers also document our own social history and reveal many important and/or quirky issues for us to think about. For instance, why were so few thrillers with Russian settings or characters published during the world wars when Russia/the Soviet Union was our ally?

Week 1:

The Background, 1880-1900. Terrorism, fictional invasions, and early spy fiction

Confrontation and competition between the United Kingdom and Russia, fiction and the “Great Game,” terrorism, anarchism and the threat of nihilism, remembering earlier wars, invasion novels and imagining future wars, books and magazine stories for young adults, the first spy fiction.
The Background, 1880-1900. Terrorism, fictional invasions, and early spy fiction

Week 2:

Part One: 1900-1910: Spy mania and the establishment of the Secret Service Bureau

Spy mania and real spy scares in newspapers, spy mania in fiction, Germany as the new enemy, the Secret Service Bureau.
 Spy mania and the establishment of the Secret Service Bureau

Part Two: 1910-1920: World War One and the Russian Revolution

Spy mania, the “Snow on Their Boots” myth, Russians in war fiction, The Russian Revolutions and Russian Civil War, and fear of Bolshevism.

Week 3: Soviet/Bolshevik villains, and amateur heroes

Part One: Mixed messages, political background, social background, real spies, spy thrillers, themes.

Mixed messages, political background, social background, real spies, spy thrillers, themes.

Part Two: The effect of the First World War on spy thrillers of the 1920s, women in spy thrillers.

Week 4: The Angry Thirties

Part One:Russian characters, warnings about communism, real spies, fictional spies, British disarmament, German rearmament, appeasement and The Spanish Civil War.

Russian characters, warnings about communism, real spies, fictional spies, British disarmament, German rearmament, appeasement and The Spanish Civil War.Part One:Russian characters, warnings about communism, real spies, fictional spies, British disarmament, German rearmament, appeasement and The Spanish Civil War.

Part Two: “Lawrie Fenton” thrillers by Frederick Annesley Michael Webster

Captain F.A.M. Webster during World War One and Webster the author in the 1940s. Photographs reproduced with permission from the Webster family.

Week 5: The 1940s: World War Two and the start of the Cold War

Part One: Thrillers written during the 1940s

Thrillers with wartime settings, The Cold War, Berlin. “Now for some teamwork, Joe" From David Low’s Years of wrath: a cartoon history, 1932-1945. London, Gollancz, 1949. Stalin and Churchill sharing/dismantling the Soviet emblem of hammer and sickle.
Week 5:The 1940s: World War Two and the start of the Cold War

Part Two: Looking Back: Later thrillers set in the 1940s

The political background, The Berlin Wall, defectors, spies, moles and sleepers, secret service agents and agencies in fiction, new technologies and war games.

Week 6: The 1950s and 1960s

Part One: 1950s: Spies and the Arms Race

Intelligence Services, spies, Germany and Berlin, fear of Communism, McCarthyism, Stalin’s death and Krushchev, the Hungarian Revolution, treason and treachery.
Week 6: The 1950s and 1960s

Part Two: 1960s: The Berlin Wall, and spies, defectors and traitors

The political background, The Berlin Wall, defectors, spies, moles and sleepers, secret service agents and agencies in fiction, new technologies and war games.

Week 7: The 1970s and 1980s

Part One: The 1970s: Germany, real spies, and spies in fiction

The political background, the Berlin Wall, spies in fiction, “sleepers” in fiction, defectors in fiction, traitors in fiction, secret service agents and agencies in fiction, women authors.
The 1970s and 1980s

Part Two: Spy scandals and heroic Russians

The Arms Race, The Soviet-Afghan War and the Moscow Olympics, Soviet settings and Soviet heroes and heroines, Berlin, East Berlin and the Berlin Wall, real people as fictional characters, the SIS, the CIA and the KGB in fiction, NATO, the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

Week 8: The 1990s and Postscript: Themes

Part One: The 1990s: The End of the Cold War

The political background, Berlin, spies, defectors, sleepers and moles, traitors, Secret Service agents and agencies in fiction.
week 8

Part Two: Postscript: Themes

Themes in spy thrillers, the Secret Services, men alone, amateurs and amateurism, treachery and defection and betrayal, other themes.

Meet our Instructor:

Instructor

Jillene Bydder

Jillene Bydder’s long-term interest is in spy thrillers and what they can tell us about ourselves. An academic research librarian, she has read many thrillers unavailable in New Zealand during study periods spent at the British Library in London. She has walked the line marking the path of the Berlin Wall, crossed the Bridge of Spies, and visited Russia multiple times. She has been to Siberia and seen the bullet holes in the building used as the headquarters of the White Army during the Russian Revolution and to Stalin’s birthplace in Georgia. She has visited the island in the Baltic Sea from which British agents were infiltrated into the Soviet Union. She has presented many papers to international conferences and spends much time in second-hand bookshops here and overseas adding to her own collection of thrillers.

Location:

All in-person classes are held at the EarthDiverse offices and classrooms located at 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton (located just north of the Hamilton Central Bus Station) (entrance is located on the side of the building, see map below). Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front of the building in any of the available car parks. Daytime parking can be found in our dedicated car parks, or free 2-hour on-street daytime parking can be found just in front of Anglesea Street.
Location

Distance Learning:

This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:

  • Attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time.

  • Attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time.

  • Watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.

Distance-Learning option:

  • In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.

  • Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.

  • Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.

Pricing options:

All prices in New Zealand Dollars

Course curriculum:

Week by week new material will be posted throughout the duration of the course. Video recordings of each weekly session will be posted here after 1-2 days after each class.

  1. 1
    • EarthDiverse Zoom instructions

  2. 2
    • Course Introduction: please read before the course begins.

  3. 3
    • The Background, 1880-1900. Terrorism, fictional invasions, and early spy fiction

    • Short Readings for Week 1

    • Online Resources for Week 1

    • LIT 310 Term 3 Week 1 class powerpoint presentation

    • Lit 310 Term 3 Week 1 class video

  4. 4
    • Part One: 1900-1910: Spy mania and the establishment of the Secret Service Bureau

    • Part Two: 1910-1920: World War One and the Russian Revolution

    • Week 2 Readings

    • Week 2 Online Resources

    • Week 2 Class powerpoint presentation

    • 20220810 T3.2 LIT310 Spies & Villains video

  5. 5
    • Part One: Mixed messages, political background, social background, real spies, spy thrillers, themes.

    • Part Two: The effect of the First World War on spy thrillers of the 1920s, women in spy thrillers.

    • Week 3- 20220817 T3.3 - Resources

    • Week 3- 20220817 T3.3 - Readings

    • 20220817 T3.3 LIT310 video

    • 20220817 T3.3 LIT310 class presentation PDF

  6. 6
    • Part One:Russian characters, warnings about communism, real spies, fictional spies, British disarmament, German rearmament, appeasement and The Spanish Civil War.

    • Part Two: “Lawrie Fenton” thrillers by Frederick Annesley Michael Webster

    • 20220824 T3.4 LIT310 class presentation PDF

    • 20220824 T3.4 LIT310 class video

  7. 7
    • Part One: Thrillers written during the 1940s

    • Part Two: Looking Back: Later thrillers set in the 1940s

    • 20220831 T3.5 Online Resources Week 5

    • 20220831 T3.5 Brief history of the Secret Police of the Soviet Union

    • 20220831 T3.5 LIT310 Video

    • 20220831 T3.5 LIT310 Spies and Villains class PDF

  8. 8
    • Part One: 1950s: Spies and the Arms Race

    • Part Two: 1960s: The Berlin Wall, and spies, defectors and traitors

    • 20220907 T3.6 LIT310 Online Resources

    • 20220907 T3.6 LIT310 Readings

    • 20220907 T3.6 LIT310 Spies and Villains class PDF

    • 20220907 T3.6 LIT310 video

  9. 9
    • Part One: The 1970s: Germany, real spies, and spies in fiction

    • Part Two: Spy scandals and heroic Russians

    • 20220914 T3.7 LIT310 Readings

    • 20220914 T3.7 LIT310 video

    • 20220914 T3.7 LIT310 Spies and Villains class presentation PDF

  10. 10
    • Part One: The 1990s: The End of the Cold War

    • Part Two: Postscript: Themes

    • 20220921 T3. 8 LIT310 Spies and Villains Very Short List of Titles

    • 20220921 T3.8 LIT310 Spies and Villains presentation PDF

    • 20220921 T3.8 Spies & Villains class video

Notes:

  • Detailed Syllabi are available at the start of each Term.

  • Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.

  • This class has no assignments, quizzes, tests or exams.

  • Some preparation however is required for familiarising yourself with the short stories, myths and texts prior to each course session.

  • Sources for accessing and reading these are provided each week, either via PDF or web-based URL for on-line reading, downloading or printing at home.

  • You will not need to purchase any reading materials.

  • All classes encourage questions and group discussion.

  • PDF copies of each class presentation are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!

  • Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break in the middle of each session.

  • There are no refunds for missed class

Prerequisites:

  • There are no prerequisites for this course.

Upsells: