The secret history of the English spy: 1674-1800

Slaney Chadwick Ross, Purdue University


This project traces the emergence of the spy in the literature of the eighteenth century, arguing for spying's ideological transition within the cultural and literary imagination from a profession to a way of being. At stake in "The Secret History of the English Spy: 1674–1800" is the idea that surveillance, spying, and state secrecy inform and meaningfully intersect with eighteenth century narrative fiction. Through analysis of a variety of surveillance fictions, including spy narratives, financial tell-alls, periodicals, amatory secret histories, and domestic and Gothic fictions, I incorporate the idea of surveillance into eighteenth-century literary history in order to more thoroughly understand how the genre speaks back to eighteenth-century conceptions of gender, class, and selfhood.




Powell, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Comparative literature|British and Irish literature

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