Russian nihilists and the pre-history of spy fiction

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Abstract / Description of output

Although the birth of modern British spy fiction is usually assigned to the Edwardian period, and the names of Kipling, Conrad and, ultimately, Buchan are often the first to be mentioned, the genre owes its existence to a little-noted precursor in late Victorian popular literature: the Russian Nihilist romance. Many of the ideological and formal aspects of the genre can be traced back to the tales of police espionage, terrorist revolutionaries, and double agents that titillated audiences in the last decades of the nineteenth century. In the 1880s and 90s, the age-old literary figure of the spy underwent a number of transformations that would establish its new meanings for the new century.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationBRANCH: Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016


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  • Spy Week

    Anna Vaninskaya (Invited speaker)


    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar

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