John le Carré (b. 1931) is the pen name of David Cornwell. Under that pseudonym he has become the leading writer of contemporary spy thrillers. Tremendously popular and deeply influential, his novels feature a level of psychological depth and narrative complexity that makes them as rewarding as the most highly-touted literary fiction.
Weaving incisive political commentary, razor-sharp satire, and suspense, his work reflects upon and dissects both Cold War anxieties and the complications of social relationships. Several of his novels-including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Russia House, and The Tailor of Panama-have been adapted into award-winning movies.
In Conversations with John le Carré, the acclaimed writer talks about his craft, the nature of language, the literature that he loves, and the ways in which his own life influences the creation of, and characters within, his novels. He worked for the British Foreign Office in the 1960s, and although his works are dazzlingly informed about global politics, le Carré's voice is distinctively British.
His love of language, particularly the ways in which it can reveal or conceal thought and action, is evident in every piece here. In interviews with George Plimpton, Melvyn Bragg, and others, le Carré proves himself to be quick witted, engaging, and deeply passionate. Though often self-deprecating in his humor, le Carré reveals his commitment to the spy thriller and tells us why he thinks it is just as capable of exploring human consciousness as any other literary genre.
Matthew J. Bruccoli is Jefferies Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. He has written or edited thirty volumes on F. Scott Fitzgerald, including the standard biography, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur.
Judith S. Baughman works in the department of English at the University of South Carolina. With Bruccoli she is co-editor of Conversations with F. Scott Fitzgerald (University Press of Mississippi).