O espião que saiu do livro – ou vice-versa

spy_vs_spy___the_laptop_by_cluny91-d6s5rquEspionagem é uma profissão bem adequada aos escritores. Ou seria o contrário? Nessa matéria da Economist, que traduzirei quando tiver tempo, histórias sobre como até a incensada Paris Review surgiu da necessidade de vigiar os inimigos na Guerra Fria:

“CHAMPAGNE, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector,” Graham Greene (pictured above) wrote in “Ways of Escape” (1980). “It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies more successfully.” Greene sought the truth in the people around him for the sake of his writing, but one can’t read this reflection without wondering how it was informed by his involvement in another kind of lie detecting. When he wasn’t writing (and sometimes when he was), Greene worked as an agent for MI6, the British intelligence service. 

Greene was recruited in 1941, after he had already established his career as a writer. It was a credible cover for intelligence gathering and his penchant for traveling to certain significant regions for his novels—Liberia, Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, Vietnam—made him a valuable informant. Spying had the added perk of offering Greene intriguing material. Some of his books, like “Our Man in Havana” (1958) and “The Quiet American” (1955), feature spies directly, but the relationship between writing and spying goes deeper and is more intriguing. 

Greene, who died 25 years ago this month, was by no means the first novelist to experiment with espionage. When Cambridge hesitated to award Christopher Marlowe his degree due to frequent absences, Queen Elizabeth I’s Privy Council explained that he was working “on matters touching the benefit of his country.” Marlowe is thought to have been recruited by Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth’s spymaster. He died under mysterious circumstances at age 29, stabbed in a tavern brawl in the company of other Walsingham acquaintances. 

Ian Fleming and John Le Carré’s careers in British intelligence are well known, but less obvious figures were recruited too. Roald Dahl served as a spy from Washington. Peter Matthiessen joined the CIA out of Yale. The Paris Review, an esteemed literary magazine, was born—somewhat scandalously—out of Matthiessen’s intelligence duties: “I needed more cover for my nefarious activities, the worst of which was the unpleasant task of checking on certain Americans in Paris to see what they were up to. My cover, officially, was my first novel, but my contact man… had said, ‘Anything else you can do while you’re here?’” 

O resto, sugiro fortemente ler AQUI.


Sobre sergioleo

Escritor, Jornalista, artista plástico
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