Title: Ashenden: or, The British Agent Author: Maugham, W. Somerset [William Somerset] () Date of first publication: A set of short stories, connected in theme, featuring Ashenden, “a writer by profession”, who is now a member of the British Secret Service. Like Ian Fleming . Ashenden; or, the British Agent, by W. Somerset Maugham is not the first secret agent novel in English. Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent.

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Ashenden: or, The British Agent

He began to sing. I am very sensitive to that.

However, having said this, the chapter where Ashenden recalls a past love affair of his own ‘Love and Russian Literature’ is probably the weakest section of the book. Ashenden accompanied him to the door and as he shook hands the doctor gave his prognosis in a pout of his bearded mouth. Just as passion will make use brazenly of the hackneyed phrase, so will chance show itself insensitive to the triteness of the literary convention. But when we finished dinner she rose from her seat and bade me good night.

In ashendfn arrangement of the facts of nature they were satisfied if ageny did not outrage the spectator’s sense of reality.

If Maugham’s activities were still covered by the Official Secrets Act over 70 years later, might they still be covered today? This agnt consists of a handful of interconnected short stories about a British intelligence officer, Ashenden. They came up empty-handed.


Book Review: Ashenden; or, the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham

She had sent for him knowing who he was because he could make use of it. Jan 03, Pink rated it liked it. It is more suitable for the very short story than for the longer one.

It is also the work of a writer who had the knack for creating a vivid character in few words, and then allowing that character to reveal his story—and usually more of himself than he would wish—to the attentive reader. I wanted to make sure. He was as friendly to them as they were to him. He was concerned with the beginning or the end of it, perhaps, or with some incident in the middle, but what his own doings led to he had seldom a chance of discovering.

Ashenden told him his errand. He was afraid Bernard would think the inquiry an attempt to laugh at him. She held me to my word. Why did I not take their warning?

He decided to research the secret service during Maugham’s period to ‘dig up material that way,’ but he found that all pertinent material also was covered by the Official Secrets Act. She gave a sigh, and a flashing smile, and sailed on. In another, Ashenden must induce an Italian dancer to betray her lover, an anti-British Indian and a German agent, by convincing him to cross the border from neutral Switzerland to see her in allied France, where the Allies can arrest him.


Ashenden: or, The British Agent

Anybody who worked in intelligence will tell you that we have Official Secrets laws for very good reasons. He stopped to ask the porter if there were letters for him.

You will give the Hairless Mexican the notes in return for the documents that Andreadi is bringing. Maugham—both in this book and in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of his short stories—was a great influence on spy novelists in general a Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden: Ashenden dimmed the light.

Rbitish wanted a brktish to be no more than an eye and a hand. The war was spoken of a good deal and the baroness and the Pasha expressed very anti-German sentiments. A few days after they arrive, the revolution breaks out in earnest. Chris 15 March at I made no sign that I had noticed anything. It is not hard to follow. No one could be more of a stranger to her than Ashenden.