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Literature and Security: CIA Engagement in the Arts--What Philosophers of Education Need to Know and Why



These are broad and expansive themes and so what we wish to do is to provide a perhaps dramatic case study example of state engagement with the arts for political and security purposes. Our critical case is that of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) engagement with the arts during the Cold War and newly uncovered archival evidence of the CIA involvement with the writers’ organisation which is still thriving today, International PEN. Our argument is that the state security engagement with the arts and literature is an important exemplar of what we term the influence of public education by often covert means, which may derogatively be referred to as propaganda, or what Jameson called the ‘political unconscious’. From the archival evidence arising from CIA engagement with the arts we derive three principles of intellectual framing for analysis of the critical aesthetic of philosophy of education: (1) the political aesthetic of security and literature; (2) cultural citizenship as security; (3) the educational ecosystem of literature as securitisation. In sum, we suggest philosophers of education sharpen their treatments of literature in education with more realistic and informed assessments of the aesthetic in political and security contexts. Methodologically, by implication, we think we also make the case for philosophers of education to make greater and more frequent use of primary documentation, particularly archival sources in order to be able to substantiate such sharpened treatments.
Literature and Security: CIA Engagement in the Arts. What Philosophers of Education Need to Know
and Why
Corresponding Author
E-mail address:
Correspondence: Liam Gearon, University of Oxford, 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY.
Marion Wynne‐Davies, School of Literature and Languages, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey
GU2 7XH.
Search for more papers by this author
Corresponding Author
E-mail address:
Correspondence: Liam Gearon, University of Oxford, 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY.
Marion Wynne‐Davies, School of Literature and Languages, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey
GU2 7XH.
Search for more papers by this author
Corresponding Author
E-mail address:
Correspondence: Liam Gearon, University of Oxford, 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY.
Marion Wynne‐Davies, School of Literature and Languages, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey
GU2 7XH.
Search for more papers by this author
Corresponding Author
E-mail address:
Correspondence: Liam Gearon, University of Oxford, 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY.
Marion Wynne‐Davies, School of Literature and Languages, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey
GU2 7XH.
Search for more papers by this author
First published: 28 March 2019
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These are broad and expansive themes and so what we wish to do is to provide a perhaps dramatic
case study example of state engagement with the arts for political and security purposes. Our critical
case is that of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) engagement with the arts during the Cold War
and newly uncovered archival evidence of the CIA involvement with the writers’ organisation which
is still thriving today, International PEN. Our argument is that the state security engagement with the
arts and literature is an important exemplar of what we term the influence of public education by
often covert means, which may derogatively be referred to as propaganda, or what Jameson called
the ‘political unconscious’. From the archival evidence arising from CIA engagement with the arts we
derive three principles of intellectual framing for analysis of the critical aesthetic of philosophy of
education: (1) the political aesthetic of security and literature; (2) cultural citizenship as security; (3)
the educational ecosystem of literature as securitisation. In sum, we suggest philosophers of
education sharpen their treatments of literature in education with more realistic and informed
assessments of the aesthetic in political and security contexts. Methodologically, by implication, we
think we also make the case for philosophers of education to make greater and more frequent use
of primary documentation, particularly archival sources in order to be able to substantiate such
sharpened treatments.
The relationship between literature and security may at first glance seem a distant one. And the
connection perhaps even further removed from philosophy of education. We present evidence here
that may convince otherwise. In broad theoretical terms we present the case for contextualising the
literature and security interface as an extension of the ancient relationship between philosophy,
literature and politics. The idea of a contested relationship between authors and autocrats, writers
and their dictators is thus as old as Plato's oft‐cited hypothetical expulsion of the poets from the
Republic, or the ancient quarrel, still characterising debates around language and philosophy
emergent from the Enlightenment and variants of its reactive Romantic aftermath (Williams, 2016).
It is an abiding relationship between literature and politics that endures wherever writers are
repressed or indeed act themselves as agents of religious, moral or ideological repression
(Alexander, 2005; Karolides et al., 2011; Orwell, 1946).
If as Hobsbawm (2007) rightly tells us, all modern revolutions can be traced back to the French
Revolution, an originating link between literature and politics can be traced to Rousseau. In an early
prize‐winning essay—a discourse on the respective merits of the arts and the sciencessubmitted
to the Academy of Dijon, the young Rousseau, much in the way Stalin would, castigates artists for a
lack of concern with attention to matters pursuant of social justice (Rousseau, 1997a, 1997b. Martha
Nussbaum (2012) might today disagree. In her influential and much cited Not for Profit: Why
Democracy Needs the Humanities, she takes the contrary view, arguing that it is the arts, humanities
and literature which sustain and enrich not detract from democracy.
We show, however, a hidden hand within that sustaining of democracy through the arts. The
security and intelligence apparatus we articulate here is, we argue, a modern‐day element, a
contemporary manifestation or facet (if a neglected one) of an educational ecosystem of cultural
construction, the operationalising means of political engineering of the cultural. Stalin understood
this in making his diktat to the Union of Soviet Writers, declaring artists should be ‘engineers of the
human soul’. It is an extension of the argument presented by Trotsky (1971) in Literature and
Revolution. Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany Joseph Goebbels understood it too and
realised that the Nazi book‐burnings of 1933 were the preface to other fires.
Liberal democracies have not, however, been averse to their own cultural engineering either. The
empirical, archival and theoretical framing of our literature review and discussion show that such
cultural engineering has involved security and intelligence agencies like the CIA. Many philosophers
of education may find this surprising. They may even find it initially irrelevant.
The dictum that ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ is thereby inverted. The pen is a weapon, and
has long served this purpose. As histories of censorship and freedom of expression attest, the writer
has long served as a symbol of political oppression in two‐fold ways, as the recipient of aesthetic‐
political repression or, where certain literary or artistic views support authoritarian regimes they can
be the agents themselves of aesthetic‐political power. Here PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists), which
draws its raison d'etre from this organisation's dictum, is all the more appropriate a demonstration
of the proximity of literature and security through its engagement with the CIA.
Our findings are empirical and methodologically dependent upon the use of a US literary archive, the
Ransom Center, at the University of Texas at Austin. Both authors have spent a considerable number
of years undertaking archival research on the Special Collections of the International PEN holding.
Our conclusions are theoretical and provide a threefold intellectual framing for analysis of the critical
aesthetic of philosophy of education: (1) the political aesthetic of security and literature; (2) cultural
citizenship as security; (3) the educational ecosystem of literature as securitisation.
PEN is a writers’ organisation founded in 1921. In the aftermath of World War I its founding
President was John Galsworthy, author of the Forsyte Saga, and just prior to his death, winner of the
Nobel Prize for Literature, one of a number of PEN Presidents to do so. From its inception PEN
consistently rejected political affiliation and propaganda, a commitment reiterated in two key
international congresses. During the Brussels Congress of June 1927 the Federated PEN Clubs
declared their adhesion to the following principles:
Literature, national though it be in origin, knows no frontiers, and should remain common currency
between nations in spite of political or international upheavals.
In all circumstances then and particularly in time of war, works of art, the patrimony of humanity at
large, should be left untouched by national or political passion.
Members of the PEN Clubs will at all times use what influence they have in favour of good
understanding and mutual respect between the nations. (Harry Ransom Center, PEN Papers,
Acquisition 1, Box 5; hereafter cited by Acquisition and Box numbers. All quotations courtesy of The
Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.)
Subsequently, with the rise of Nazism and Fascism in Western Europe, and with Stalin's Soviet
Empire well established in the East, at the 10th International Congress Budapest 2527 May 1931,
Galsworthy reminded delegates: ‘I hope you will forgive me when I say that the time has come to
speak of the due qualities in definite words about what our PEN Association does and does not stand
for. The founding centre [London]I know you will readily believe meknow exactly with what
ideals the PEN Association was founded and to what ideals we must adhere furtherly if it is to
continue to exist.’ He outlines five principles:
1st: The PEN stands for literature in the sense of art, not of journalism, not of propaganda! And for
the diffusion of literature as art from country to country.
2nd: The PEN stands for the hospitality and friendliness between writers in their own country and
with writers of all other countries.
3rd: The PEN stands for the principle that its members shall do or write nothing to promote WAR.
4th: The PEN stands for humanly conduct.
5th: Such words, as nationalism, inter‐nationalism, democracy, aristocracy, imperialistic, anti‐
imperialistic, bourgeoisie, revolutionist or alike other words with political significance must not be
used in connection with the PEN. The PEN has nothing to do with the state—or Party‐politics and
cannot be use for State‐ or Party‐interests of any country (1.10)
The aim that literature should be ‘untouched by national or political passion’ and that ‘propaganda’
or ‘words with political significance’ should have no place in PEN has been sustained, with the
organisation's current website retaining, almost verbatim, the original 1927 first principle, ‘Literature
knows no frontiers and must remain common currency among people in spite of political or
international upheavals’.
Yet, over the last 25 years the CIA's investment in various artistic, academic and cultural circles and
publications has been exposed with some intriguing parallels for PEN (Miller Harris, 2016; Stonor
Saunders, 2013; Whitney, 2018). This article, therefore, turns the focus onto PEN and, in so doing,
demonstrates the importance of archival research, for International PEN and its administration were
deeply implicated in the CIA's cultural cold war. In particular, the investigation focusses upon Arthur
Miller and David CarverPresident and Secretary of International PEN, respectivelyfrom 1964 to
December 1964: David Carver and the Foreign Office
Before 1965, the clandestine association between PEN and the security services in the US and the UK
is uncertain. The first, still faint, evidence emerges in the memo recorded by Carver relating to
meetings he had with the British Foreign Office at the end of 1964 (2.8). On 7 December 1964,
Carver received a personal letter from Robin (Robert) Cecilwith the salutation ‘Dear David’ and the
sign off ‘Yours ever’—asking him to come to an informal meeting at the Cultural Department of the
Foreign Office. In a memorandum following the meeting, which took place on 6 January 1965, Carver
lists, with care, the points covered during his conversation with Cecil, Richard Speight and Sir Francis
Head. Cecil, it seems, was interested in ‘the cultural relations between Eastern Europe and this
Country [the UK]’ as well as in the upcoming 1965 International Bled Congress and how PEN and the
Foreign Office ‘could collaborate’. After some discussion it was decided that ‘P.E.N. might, in fact, be
regarded as sponsoring invitations to individuals [from East Europe] … while the East Europe
Committee and the British Council would foot the bill’. Interestingly, Carver notes, ‘At this point I
made mention of IWF but did not disclose sources of revenue’. The ‘IWF’ that Carver refers to was
the International Writers’ Fund whose ‘source of revenue’ was the CIA, a fact Carver appears to have
known and, simultaneously, wished to conceal. This is an intriguing point in itself, since it suggests
that Carver was working to obtain funds for PEN from both the UK Foreign Office and the CIA.
However, financing visits by Eastern European authors was not Cecil's only interest in calling the
meeting; he was also keen to discuss ‘the International Presidency … possible American candidates
[and] the French Centre’. The ensuing discussion of the next President of International PEN
demonstrated a preference for an American candidate and referred to the possibility that the French
PEN Centre might prove problematic since they were putting up their own candidate.
As such, this seemingly innocuous meeting between old friends focused upon the two key elements
that were to establish International PEN policy for the next decade and align it closely with the UK's
and USA's foreign policy, as well as the covert activities of MI6 and the CIA. Importantly, as far as
Carver and Cecil were concerned there were two key PEN ‘planks’ that would serve to facilitate the
West's battle against the East: funding and the presidency of International PEN. The first step was,
therefore, to recruit an American PEN president who could be manipulated in the cultural cold war
against Russia.
An American for President: February 1965
Accordingly, in February 1965 Carver went to New York in search of an American candidate for the
international presidency. The history of PEN records that Arthur Miller, the renowned American
playwright, was the final choice. However, while Carver was exploring the possibilities of a US
president, he was also establishing links with Russia. Alain Whitman, the General Secretary of the
PEN American Center wrote to Carver on 16 January 1965 asking him to attend ‘this P.E.N. cocktail
party for the Russian visitors with which, so fortunately for us, your own time of arrival here
coincides’, although Whitman acknowledges that the Russians are not PEN guests, rather that, ‘our
State Department has asked us to entertain them’ (2.20). Less than a month after meeting Cecil,
Carver was already investigating American candidates for the presidency and establishing links with
Russian writers.
The most interesting account of Carver's subsequent meeting with Arthur Miller, is Miller's own,
recorded in his biography, Timebends (1987). The initial contact was made over the phone by Keith
Botsford who was Secretary of the IWF (his name appears alongside Carver's on the notepaper) and
who was also active in International PEN. Moreover, Christopher Bigsby in his biography of Miller
notes that Botsford had ‘served briefly in military intelligence’ and had considerable knowledge of
‘those employed, directly or indirectly, by the CIA’ (Bigsby, 2011, p. 90). The next day Botsford
arrived at Miller's apartment in Paris with David Carver and they started to persuade Miller to allow
his name to be put forward for the next President of International PEN. At first Miller was reluctant
and at this point he draws a perceptive portrait of Carver:
Carver snapped open his golden cigarette case. Certain as I was that I wanted nothing to do with this
new diversion from writing, there was no way of cutting short this great figure of a Briton, blond of
hair, blue of eye, with silky skin as white as the inside of a grapefruit rind, two jolly pink rosettes on
his cheeks, and shoulders as broad as the back of a wagon (Miller, 1987, p. 566).
The impression is of a quintessentially upper‐class Englishman, but Miller uses some disconcerting
words and images. The social urbanity of the ‘golden cigarette case’ is undercut by the ‘grapefruit
rind’, ‘rosettes’ and ‘wagon’. Suddenly, Carver's poise seems like a veneer, concealing a much more
mundane, working‐class identity. Indeed, while Miller imagines the Englishman as both the horse
with the rosettes and the wagon pulled by that horse, he never suggests that Carver was driving the
wagon. Moreover, Miller's suspicion that Carver was being directed by others was remarkably
accurate, as the American found himself wondering: ‘whether our State Department or CIA or
equivalent British hands might be stirring this particular stew’ (Miller, 1987, p. 567).
Still, Carver continued to woo Miller by stressing PEN's credentials as ‘depoliticized’ and presenting
the presidency as a way to ‘speak to the sterility of the Cold War’ and ‘save lives’ (Miller, 1987, p.
566). Miller, however, remained suspicious of Carver's and Botsford's true intentions, so, still
wondering if the Englishmen was working alongside the CIA or MI6, the American decided to ‘flush
them out’ by asking ‘What if I wanted to invite Soviet writers to join PEN?’ (Miller, 1987, p. 567). But
Miller was taken aback by the response: ‘Carver's mouth dropped open. “Why, that would be
wonderful!”’ (p. 567). Of course, Arthur Miller was working on the assumption that any organisation
involved with Western governments would reject friendly overtures towards Russia and,
consequently, if Carver welcomed links with the Soviets, then PEN must be a non‐political and
independent group. Carver's understanding of the conversation was very different. Indeed, he must
have been delighted that both planks of the policy he had discussed with Cecil had fallen together so
very neatly. Not only had he won over Miller, whose candidacy for the presidency was now assured,
but Carver had also engineered Miller's innocent support, via PEN, for MI6's and the CIA's
clandestine cultural cold war. Writing with hindsight in his biography, Miller notes that he managed,
to wheedle out of the FBI in 1986, ‘a 1965 cable to Washington from the US Embassy in Moscow
describing my reception there, two short weeks before this visit of Carver's, as “semi‐official” and
“warm” (p. 568)
The political implications were considerable: the CIA, assisted by MI6, now had in International PEN,
a complicit Secretary and assistant (Carver and Botsford) and an unwittingly compliant President
(Miller). The next stage was to implement a new strategy for wooing writers in Russia and the
Eastern Bloc and the set for such activity was to be the 33rd International PEN congress in Bled.
Before moving on to discuss that Congress, however, it is important to point out that Carver was not
a Machiavellian character abusing PEN for his covert political masters, nor was Miller an innocent
American abroad. Miller's suspicions had already been aroused, as noted in his autobiography. On
Carver's part, while he failed to comment in print himself, there is one telling point in his discussion
with Miller: that PEN was on the verge of going ‘out of business’ (Miller, 1987, p. 566). When pushed
by Miller, Carver explained that they need more members of note, but this response was somewhat
disingenuous because at the beginning of 1966 going ‘out of business’ was a very real possibility for
International PEN as they had very little cash and no reserves. For Carver it must have been an
invidious position, since PEN was able to ‘save lives’, as he had claimed to Miller, but only if he,
Carver, secretly did the bidding of the CIA in exchange for the cash that funded PEN's activism.
Bled Congress, 1965
Carver wrote to Miller on 2 June 1965 to let him know what to expect at the Bled Congress,
although, as he notes, Keith Botsford and Lewis Galantiere, had already discussed logistics with
Miller (2.13). Carver goes on to explain that the French have not withdrawn their candidate, Miguel
Angel Asturias, but that Miller has overwhelming support and that the election will be ‘a formality’.
Although the French Centre campaigned fiercely for Asturias, they claimed to have nothing against
Miller, but saw the American as Carver's candidate and in a pamphlet entitled ‘To Know French’ they
warned against the consolidation of Carver's power (2.13). Carver, meanwhile, having sorted out the
issue of the presidency, turned his attention to the Russians. In the same letter to Miller, he explains
that the idea of Soviet observers will be introduced at Bled. He notes that he has already had talks in
Paris with Alexey Alexandrovich Surkov and Konstantin Simenov and that four ‘distinguished Soviet
writers have been asked to attend the Congress: Anna Akmatova, Aleksandr Tvardovsky, Konstantin
Fedin and Mikhail Sholokhov. Of these, it is worth noting that both Surkov and Simenov were,
respectively, head and secretary of the Soviet Union of Writers and were Party‐men, never
questioning the hard censorship of their fellow Russian writers. The ‘distinguished … writers’ were
more mixed. Fedin, as chair of the Soviet Union of Writers, and Sholokhov were both respected and
committed Soviet citizens. Akmatova and Tvardovsky were, by the 1960s, respected, but had in the
past been accused of dissidence. Akmatova was a Russian poet acclaimed in both East and West; she
was also 76 at the time of the Bled conference. Tvardovsky was the editor the literary journal, Novy
Mir which had published, in 1962, the controversial novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by
Alekandr Solzhenitsyn. The composition of the group Carver writes about is, therefore, mixed, with a
predominance of loyal Soviets, but with two possibly dissident voices aimed at reassuring Miller that
PEN could indeed act as a liberalising force within Russia. Carver ended by briefing Miller about his
forthcoming trip to Moscow. Notably, Carver did not inform Miller that the visit would be paid for by
the Ford Foundation (as Galantiere confirms in a letter to Carver on 21 May 1965 (2.20 and 24)),
which was of course one of the CIA's front‐organisations used to channel funds.
While Carver had Miller and the French Centre in hand, Keith Botsford had run into difficulties with
regards to Bled, since the two men, Matje Bor and Joze Javorsek, charged with organising the
congress were at loggerheads. Botsford was despatched to Budapest to discuss the arrangements
for the congress and reported the difficulties to Carver on 26 October 1964 (2.13). Botsford
described Bor as a man ‘not without political ambitions’ and pointed out that Javorsek, in sharp
contrast, opposes the socialist Yugoslav government. Botsford went on to explain the reason for
Javorsek's political views:
No sooner had he arrived [from France in 1948] he was arrested, thrown into jail and tortured. His
wife died in childbirth while he was in prison, and it was not until two years had elapsed that he was
permitted out of solitary confinement … [leaving him] somewhat soured on socialist society (2.13).
The whole affair exploded during the two men's meeting with Botsford: Bor attacked Javorsek, who
promptly resigned. Subsequently, Botsford asked Carver ‘to give Javorsek the help he needs’ and,
although there are no extant letters showing what ‘help’ Carver provided, the organisation of the
Congress resumed and Botsford was soon free to turn to the next stage of wooing the Russian and
Eastern Bloc authors. But, how to do this?
The most significant innovation at the Bled Congress was the introduction of Round Table
discussions (Tables Rondes) that, as Botsford noted in a summary report, would ‘make the annual
International Congress of PEN more interesting, varied and intellectually stimulating’ (2.24).
Although, at first, this appears to be a laudable intellectual endeavour, the first aim in the report
suggests a more political intention. Botsford writes:
The opportunity offered by the fact that the Congress was sponsored by a centre in East Europe,
where the PEN is particularly active [is]…to advance the East‐West dialogue (2.24).
In effect, the invitations to the Round Tables were able to offset the ‘official writers’, who were
invited by the East European Centres, against writers invited solely by the International Secretariat
(such as Carver), and these Round Table writers, as Botsford notes, were ‘almost totally members of
the “liberal” movements within their own countries’. In particular, the innovation proved successful
with regard to Russia, as Botsford again comments: ‘The presence of the Soviet writers in the Tables
Rondes, treated as individuals and not as delegates, may be counted one of the triumphs of the Bled
Tables Rondes’. However, not all delegates were convinced. The Round Tables were criticised for
bringing in non‐PEN members, the invites being organised by the International Secretary rather than
the host centre and the fact that those PEN members who attended were allowed in only as
‘observers’. This was, of course, precisely the point, since Carver's CIA‐driven strategy was to use
PEN as a vehicle for stirring up protest against Soviet control both in Russia and the Eastern Bloc
Evidence for this infiltration of PEN may be found in the funding patterns. Significantly, Botsford's
report lists those organisations that offered financial aid to the non‐official writers: ‘UNESCO … the
Ford Foundation, the Farfield Foundation and the International Writers’ Fund’ (2.24). While there is
no evidence to suggest that UNESCO was funded by the CIA, there is ample proof that the agency
used both the Ford Foundation and the Farfield Foundation as vehicles in the cultural wars against
the Soviet Union during the 1960s (Stonor Saunders, 2013). Moreover, Carver admitted in a letter to
Storm James in 1967 that the International Writers’ Fund was similarly bankrolled by the CIA
(Birkett, 2009, p. 330). Finally, in a letter written a year later to George Minden, whose own
association with the CIA will be discussed in the next section, Carver indicated that further
substantial funding had been obtained from the Free Europe Committee, yet another front for the
distribution of CIA monies (2.24). Indeed, UNESCO funded only one Round Table as part of its own
three‐year project, ‘New Means of Creation’, while the CIA indirectly provided the money for all the
other Round Tables at Bled with their predominantly Eastern Bloc ‘liberal’ writers.
After the Congress, Susan Sontag wrote a perceptive report commenting on the Round Tables and
their political aspect:
PEN has always had the reputation of being ‘outside politics’ which accounts for its strength and
survival in Eastern Europe. Yet there is no doubt the function, purpose, raison d’être of PEN—
whether it's admitted or notis a political one: to liberalize the writer's situation (2.24).
She goes on to comment specifically on the Round Tables and the attendance of ‘seven Russian
observers’; she notes that Anna Akhmatova, Andrey Voznesensky and Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn were
all invited, but did not attend. Instead ‘we got Surkov himself … and only one writer of some note,
the novelist Leonid Leonov’. The promise of some dissident Russian writers was, therefore, not
fulfilled and they were substituted by Surkov whose Soviet sympathies have already been outlined
and Leonov who had been made Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union in 1950. While
Botsford's report claims success at developing possibly subversive links with Russian and Eastern
Bloc writers, Sontag's more honestand unwittingreport reveals that the Soviets were far from
unaware of the CIA's attempts at infiltration and countered the West's creation of open Round
Tables by sending delegates who would report faithfully back to their own government agencies.
Through all this, it seems that Miller remained unaware of the situation since in his speech on
accepting the presidency he claimed that the PEN Congress at Bled and PEN as an organisation
an opportunity for men of different nations and conflicting ideologies, to face one another in a way
which no other area provides (2.21).
At the close of the Bled Congress, PEN was, therefore, at the cusp of change, with a number of
factorsall political—competing for its identity and raison d’être. Carver, striving to sustain the
organisation with funding from the CIA, continued to pursue the cultural cold war tactics demanded
by his paymasters thereby ensuring that international PEN events were open to possible dissident
writers from Russia and the Eastern Bloc countries. Surkov, in turn, worked with the Soviet
authorities to counter such moves by packing out any Round Tables with stalwart Soviet supporters.
Miller appears, at first, to be a dupe in such political machinations, but he used his speeches and
personal contacts to suggest that individual writers could rise above national politics. And Botsford?
Well, for Botsford, either the Bled Congress proved too much or, perhaps more likely, he had failed
in his endeavour to lure Soviet dissidents, since, as Bigsby notes, ‘Botsford, Carver had decided, was
“too much of a liability”, and wrong for PEN’ (Bigsby, 2011, p. 106). Moreover, Carver needed to
move on to the next Congress, this time in New York.
CIA Funding and Preparations for the New York Congress: Winter/Spring 196566
The most significant challenge for Carver as he set out to plan the New York Congress was where to
find the money, but with his new CIA backing, he proved to be very effective at raising funds. By the
end of 1965 Carver had already lined up US$ 5,700 to pay for the travel and subsistence of ‘East
Europeans’. As he informed Lewis Galantière (President of PEN American Center) in a letter dated 18
December 1965, ‘the Ford Trustees have come through with the money’ (2.20). Carver noted that he
dealt with ‘Minden’ who was prepared to fund the East European writers but who also sought to
control who Carver intended to ask: ‘he also gave me a list of his choices’. In a revealing aside, Carver
confides: ‘Between you and me, I must persuade Minden to give me a certain amount of latitude
over choice’ (2.20).
Carver's careful phrasing—the secrecy of the problem, the fact that he has to ‘persuade’ Minden,
and that he only expects a ‘certain amount’ of choice’—evidences the complex nature of the
International Secretary's dealings with the CIA. For George Minden was behind the Free Europe
campaign to provide free books to Eastern Bloc countries, an organisation and strategy that was
funded by the CIA (Reisch, 2013) while the Ford Foundation has long since been recognised as a
known conduit for CIA funding. Here, Minden is the most important figure in terms of linking funding
to specific East European authors.
Minden clearly courted Carver for, by January 1966 Carver was on George Minden's Christmas card
list. But Carver was not a passive player in the cultural cold war games and, on the 11 January 1966,
he sent a specific list of Eastern European writers that he hoped Minden would fund to travel to the
New York Congress and indicates that, ‘The International Writers’ Fund is opening an account in New
York and the monies could be paid into that account’, thereby successfully concealing the source of
the funds (2.20). At four times removeCIA, Minden/Free Europe, International Writers Fund,
PENCarver clearly felt that he had covered his tracks. The whole rigmarole was to unravel only one
year later, but it held for the New York Congress, allowing Carver to continue the plan espoused in
the meeting with Cecil in 1965 to influence Eastern writers. In this light, the ‘short report on the Bled
Congress’ that Carver encloses with the letter is significant.
Carver immediately notes that Bled was ‘notable for the many writers of distinction from both East
and West who met together in a series of Round Table Discussions’ (2.24). Indeed, he points out the
‘outstanding success’ of these meetings providing, as they did, an ‘intimate exchange of views
between writers of East and West’. However, he goes on to express worries that they will be unable
to match in New York the funding provided for Bled by the Free Europe Committee. And this is
where John C. Hunt comes into play. Hunt was the CEO of The Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF)
in Paris, yet another front for CIA funding. Hunt was in close correspondence with Carver about a
number of seemingly unrelated issues; for example, in May 1966, Hunt and Carver were working
together to assist Marion Bieber in her new role at the CCF (2.20). However, Beiber was another
element of the CIA's infiltration into PEN since she was assigned to Carver by Hunt as an assistant in
the organisation of the New York Congress. Tellingly, Carver wrote to Hunt on 22 February 1966
saying that ‘it would probably be more tactful if she were attached to my staff [rather than that of
the New York PEN Center]’ (2.20). Cementing such links, on 9 February 1966 Hunt wrote to Carver
expressing pleasure that ‘the Ford people’ have made ‘a substantial grant to the American PEN’ in
order to ensure the success of the Congress (2.20). In effect, therefore, Carver's campaign to secure
CIA funding for the PEN New York Congress was supremely successful; financial support from the CIA
was provided through a range of front‐facing agencies, including the Ford Foundation, the Free
Europe Committee and the Congress for Cultural Freedom, in addition to the direct support from
Beiber, who had been seconded to help PEN administration. Yet, neither the CIA nor Carver had
forgotten the way Surkov had hijacked their attempts to woo Eastern Bloc writers at the Bled
Congress by packing out the delegations with Soviet sympathisers. So, rather than appeasement,
they chose, for New York, a direct challengethe case of Andrei Sinyavsky.
Sinyavsky was a protégé of Boris Pasternak who published short satiric stories criticising life under
the Soviet regime. These were published in the west under the pen name Abram Tertz and his work
is generally regarded as one of the key elements in the demise of the Soviet Union (Coleman, 1997).
However, in 1965 Sinyavsky was arrested, along with his friend Yuli Danbiel, and was sentenced to
seven years imprisonment on the charge of writing anti‐Soviet propaganda. Sinyavsky was released
in 1971 and allowed to emigrate to France where he took up a post as professor at The Sorbonne
University. But in Spring 1966, when the strategies for the New York Congress were underway,
Sinyavsky's predicament seemed to offer the ideal opportunity to challenge Russian orthodoxy and
to send a message of hope to other dissident writers in both Russia and the Eastern Bloc.
As such, a letter dated 22 Feb 1966 from the British Arts Council to Carver, shows that the Arts
Council and PEN were devising a way to publish ‘an edition of Sinyavsky's book’ (2.20). In this letter
Carver reports to Minden that he has had a meeting about Sinyavsky with Leo Labetz, whose journal,
Survey, was funded by The Congress for Cultural Freedom and, therefore, by the CIA. In addition, the
meeting involved Manya Harari, who had already worked as the translator, even if indirectly, with
the CIA on its campaign to promote Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago. Indeed, she went on to
translate Sinyavsky's Unguarded Thoughts. This strategy was followed up by Carver in April 1966
when he visited Moscow with the aim of persuading the Union of Soviet Writers to ‘put forward a
plea for clemency for Sinyevsky and Daniel’, an issue that, Carver argued, was tied closely to the
attendance of Russian observers at the forthcoming New York congress. The response was blunt:
Surkov told Carver that ‘he would have no mercy for Sinyavsky and Daniel; they were cowards’ (3.3).
New York Congress, 1966
The 1966 PEN Congress was held in New York under the title ‘The Writer as Independent Spirit’ and,
for Miller in particular, should be regarded as a significant success. At the same time, Carver's
political interventions, even with the financial support of the CIA, failed to secure the intended
‘intimate exchange of views between writers of East and West’ that had characterised his
achievement at Bled. Or, perhaps, these exchanges were somewhat too revealing. The final days of
the congress witnessed stormy scenes that were reported by Robert Temple in a dispatch to the
Louisville Courier Journal (available Temple
describes the ‘near‐explosion’ that occurred when Valery Tarsis, whose autobiographical novel,
Ward 7 (1965) had exposed Russia's use of psychiatric hospitals to incarcerate dissidents,
condemned the ‘Communist government’ and demanded ‘a hot war’ against Russia. Significantly,
Tarsis referred specifically to the meeting between Carver and the Union of Soviet Writers in
Moscow, pointing out that the Russians ‘fully approved the infamous sentence passed by the Soviet
kangaroo court on Sinyavsky and Daniel’. Indeed, The New York Times reported that the very
Russian delegates Carver had hoped to woo to New York, withdrew at the last moment from
attending the Congress because they feared ‘embarrassing debates … over the imprisonment of’
Sinyavsky and Daniel’ (2.10).
It was not until five months later that Miller finally commented upon the West/East problems that
had occurred at the New York Congress, thereby tacitly addressing Carver's interventions and
defending PEN's non‐political agenda. Miller's argument is, however, somewhat convoluted. He
begins by acknowledging that Tarsis, in common with other exiled writers, has ‘used his freedom to
speak politically, but at the same time Miller asserts that PEN ‘can still call ourselves non‐political …
because I happen to believe that literature is a liberating fact for yourselfeven under a
dictatorship’ (P.E.N. News, American Center, January 1967, XIII). In other words, while a writer can
‘speak politically’ in terms of their personal ‘freedom’, that does not mean that PEN is political, even
though those writers spoke in a PEN congress. More telling, however, are Miller's beliefs, since he
affirms that the act of writing is a ‘liberating’ force under a ‘dictatorship’. Of course, Miller could well
have been alluding to his own appearance before the House of Un‐American Activities Committee in
1956, but he was also undoubtedly referring to Tarsis and the other dissident writers persecuted by
the Soviet ‘dictatorship’ and by 1969 Miller had been banned from entering the Soviet Union
because of his vigorous campaigning against such repression.
Finally, therefore, it is useful to revisit PEN's idealistic 1927 assertion that it should be an
organisation ‘untouched by national and political passion’, because by the mid‐1960s such lofty
claims were being severely undermined. Indeed, the power of pragmatism may be evidenced by the
speed with which Carver's assurances to Miller in the spring of 1965 that PEN was ‘depoliticized’
metamorphosed into Miller's own ‘political passion’ as he defended the freedom of political
dissidents in Russia. Yet, there is another telling point made by Carver in his attempts to win over
Miller: that, as International President and Secretary of PEN, they could ‘save lives’. This aim carries
equal, or perhaps more, moral weight than PEN's adherence to being ‘depoliticized’, yet saving lives
costs money. And this is why archival research is so important because, while rumours had surfaced
(9 May 1967 the New York Post and 2.27), the PEN papers at the Harry Ransom Center prove
categorically that PEN was funded by the CIA.
On the basis of this case study of English PEN, and a review of the wider scholarly and research
literature, we argue that philosophers of education need to know about CIA and wider security and
intelligence agency engagement in the arts for at least three reasons, all of which collectively
amount to important aspects of philosophy of education's critical aesthetic.
(1) The Political Aesthetic of Security and Literature
First, to be meaningful, interrogations of the aesthetic cannot remain apolitical abstractions. In ‘Why
I Write’, George Orwell (1946) identified ‘four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing
prose’—the egotistical, the aesthetic, the historical and the political. Using ‘political’ in ‘the widest
possible sense’ by this he means to ‘[D]esire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other
people's idea of the kind of society that they should strive after’ (Orwell, 1946). It is this latter
purpose with which Orwell most closely identified, and it is this relationship between writing and
politics, aesthetics and security, with which we are concerned here.
That all of the totalitarian movements of the 20th century saw literature and the arts useful in the
shaping of political systems indicates the power of literature in modernity (Adamson, 2003). Indeed,
progressive modern versions of freedom of expression are sterile without considering such harsh
political realities (Alexander, 2005; Appignanesi, 2006). Thus, writing and the arts played an
important political role in post‐Revolutionary Russia. Trotsky's (1971 [1925]) Literature and
Revolution here delineated the writers’ role for the Soviets, dissolving pre‐Revolutionary and
capitalist models of individual self‐expression to an emphasis upon the collective. The All‐Russian
Association of Proletarian Writers was part of this. It later formed the basis for the Union of Soviet
Writers, formed by the Central Committee of the Communist Party on 23 April 1932. The first (1934)
Congress of the Union of Soviet Writers demanded not only a particular literary style (Socialist
Realism) but a political, that is revolutionary, purpose to literature, a role that may be seen clearly in
their persecution of Sinyavsky and their challenge to PEN. The Congress's most infamous voice,
however, was Andrei Zhdanov, who conveyed Stalin's chillingly mechanist vision for the Soviet
aesthetic, that writers and artists were ‘engineers of the human soul’ (Garrard and Garrard, 1990).
The West too of course, often covertly, sought to engineer the arts and the political unconscious,
and in so doing provide a positive image of liberal, democratic polity, as we have demonstrated in
our case study. The wider political‐security aesthetic is demonstrated in more sustained studies such
as: Linda Risso's pioneering study, Propaganda and Intelligence in the Cold War (2014); Sarah Miller
Harris's (2016) The CIA and the Congress for Cultural Freedom in the Early Cold War: The Limits of
Making Common Cause; the contemporary classic, Frances Stonor Saunders’ (2013) The Cultural
Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters; and, more recently, Joel Whitney's (2018)
Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers. Peter Finn and Petra Couvee (2015) in The
Zhivago Affair detail the CIA involvement of Boris Pasternak's Dr Zhivago, in other words how a
Nobel Laureate in literature was a cultural reflection of Cold War tensions. Lashmar and Oliver
(1998) Britain's Secret Propaganda War: Foreign Office and the Cold War and Nicholas Wilkinson's
(2009) Secrecy and the Media: The Official History of the United Kingdom's D‐Notice System: The
Official History of the D‐notice System demonstrate the hidden hand of government security and
intelligence agencies in the media over a significant number of decades. Philosophers of education
should themselves examine not simply their own aesthetic and educational presuppositions, but the
institutional and wider socio‐political framing in which these are formed.
(2) Cultural Citizenship as Security
Two, we argue, an effort towards making explicit the political themes of the aesthetic, what Jameson
called ‘the political unconscious’, is a manifest responsibility of educationalists in general and
philosophers of education in particular. Such analysis follows in an established tradition of aesthetics
and politics (Adorno et al., 2007); or Guy Debord's (1984) Society of the Spectacle, which decries the
subversion of authentic experience in the ecstasy of consumption: ‘All that once was directly lived
has become mere representation’ (Debord, 1984). Older echoes of the same are found in Walter
Benjamin's (2008) The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and resonances in
Baudrillard's (2005) The System of Objects. As Fredric Jameson (2002) declares in The Political
Unconscious the aesthetic narrative is a socially symbolic act which constructs social reality. Jean‐
Francois Lyotard's (1984) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge details the end of the
grand narrative through a process of fragmentation into minor and localised stories, a dialogue to
which our case study contributes. This power of narrative and grand narrative is obvious in all
political discussions of the aesthetic: there is here no clearer dichotomy for example than between
Matthew Arnold's (2009) Culture and Anarchy (western culture as bastion against barbarism) and
Edward Said's (1994) inverted Culture and Imperialism (western culture as purveyor of barbarism). In
sum, the literary and political can be shown to be not only of aesthetic contention but a function of
political contestation.
Our advancement of such theories of cultural construct and political consciousness is to make
explicit the security and intelligence mechanism which underlie such cultural constructions. Or more
particularly, to suggest that in the political sphere there is a security and intelligence mechanism
which enables, facilitates and promotes cultural works, across all spheres, pictorial and visual as well
as literary. As intimated, an enormous literature exists on contemporary thought on the political
aesthetic, or the aesthetics of the political.
We may provide one example from Lyotard, a philosopher beloved and berated for preoccupations
with narrative and grand narrative. The very terminology of this ‘postmodern’ thinker's central focus
upon narrative as knowledge allows us to make a connection between art and the world it
represents. Lyotard's philosophy of the arts, which is also a philosophy of events, is, like Plato,
concerned with the power of representation. Lyotard was interested in the traditional affective
power of representation, its subliminal impact, the unconscious of the sublime, as many artists and
writers were also interested in the psychanalytic study of the figures, symbols, the displaced desires
of the dream, the form and the force of imagination.
Lyotard conceptualises much of this aesthetic theory in The Differend (Sawyer, 2014), where in art
as in politics, ultimate resolutions are rarely possible. Art like politics is a process of representation
not a resolvable or reasoned finality. Indeed, for Lyotard part of the power, and the pleasure, of art,
is that it is unreasonable. In the visual arts Lyotard took favour with French impressionists such as
Paul Cezanne for subliminally, impressionistically, disrupting accepted (or traditional) views of the
world and of modernity, subverting the realist painters that had dominated French and European
art, to present alternative visions.
Lyotard also saw in the differend a means not only of aesthetic but also political disruption. It is why
Lyotard focused so much on literary and pictorial experimentation, and in particular the avant‐garde.
Here, Lyotard saw the American art movement known as Abstract Expressionism as epitomising this
power of aesthetic disruption through avant‐garde experimentation, in life, literature, in art. Yet this
latter exemplar from a much cited author in the philosophy of education, provides reasons why
philosophers might need at times more than reasons. In which case perhaps a glance over the
empirical, that is political, security and intelligence contexts of the arts might be useful when lauding
high theory heroes and heroines. Lyotard and abstract expressionism is as good an illustrative
starting point as any.
Several respectable academic sources have already been cited to highlight the still contentious, and
contended, relationship between the CIA and the arts, but a simple online search using the words
‘abstract expressionism and the CIA’ reveals several hundred links, dating back decades and leading
to the present, revealing the sudden rise to global prominence of Abstract ExpressionJackson
Pollock arguably at its foreand accounts replete with accusations of covert funding, the shadowy
movements behind the art world of powerful forces. Much of thislike the connection of Nelson
Rockefeller, President in the 1940s and 1950s of the New York Museum of Modern Art, to the newly
created CIAis still contested. Yet one wonders if the challenges to the established order for which
Lyotard so lauded abstract expressionism might have seemed quite so disruptive of the political
This too was the time of new power elites, and C. Wright Mills’ (2000) The Power Elites remains a
text of paramount importance from the period. The Power Elites identified the nexus of business,
government and military‐security networks as now ruling America. Its author, a maverick sociology
professor, died somewhat prematurely at aged 45. Thus an emergent and significant literature is
preoccupied with researching new forms of the elite and the powerful in the social and political
sciences—Williams’ (2012) Researching Power, Elites and Leadership and Domhoff et al.’s (2017)
Studying the Power Elite (Williams, 2012). None of this literature really penetrates into the
operational side of the arts. Philosophers, and philosophers of education concerned with the arts in
education, might venture to examine some of the empirical evidence about the power structures
behind the arts, literary, visual, and so forth, as an element at least of their reflections on the power
of aesthetics in education (see authors in this Special Issue).
CIA interest in the arts is thus here not merely an historical Cold War curiosity. On the publicly
available website of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) there is a regular book review section
called The Intelligence Officer's Bookshelf. Its purpose is twofold: first, to provide reviews of books
which relate to matters of interest to the Intelligence Community (IC); second, to provide responses
to the works written by non‐IC authors on the Intelligence Community and to correct perceived
faults and flaws in argument and evidence. Weiner's (2007) Legacy of Ashes, a history of the CIA, for
example, comes in for some sharp correctives from the CIA reviewer (Dujmovic, 2007).
Further, philosophers themselves have been specific targets of security and intelligence interest. The
CIA's Reports on Philosophers (Weinberg, 2017) details several formerly confidential Central
Intelligence Agency reports on philosophy. One cited is on Soviet philosophers at the end of World
War II. Its stated intentions are to: ‘jerk the professional philosophers’ from positions of ‘entrenched
independence’ in order (in this era) to move intellectuals towards the ‘de‐Stalinisation’ of
philosophy. In 1976 another CIA report comments on the publication in Liberation, a newspaper
with which Jean‐Paul Sartre was associated, of a list of alleged CIA operatives working in France. A
decade later, another documentFrance: Defection of Leftist Intellectualsdetails matters closer to
the home territory of contemporary philosophy of education. Its focus is on the changing intellectual
climate amongst French thinkers, gauging the potential political and security impacts of change.
Particularly lauded by the CIA are the ‘New Philosophers’ who have been ‘assailing the French left as
dangerous and implicitly totalitarian’. Due to the covert nature of such operations, the current
intellectual engagements of security and intelligence agencies like the CIA are less easy to determine
(Weinberg, 2017).
Nevertheless, the historical model of CIA engagement with for example French philosophy is
illustrative of the potential power of such determinations, and the list of philosophers cited in such
contexts regularly appear in the reference list of philosophers of education. Less so are the
engagements of these thinkers within the CIA. The contributions of the structuralist historiography
of Foucault to the anti‐totalitarian, anti‐Marxist New Right intellectual firmament make for potential
re‐readings for much of Foucault (1970, 1972, 1977, 2009, 2010), if, that is, we were to side with
conspiratorial stances (Rockhill, 2017). This article is not an encouragement to do so, but rather in
considerationas we have notedof the power of the arts and the importance of aesthetic
judgement in education to consider too the power behind the arts, their conceptualisations,
constructions, production and, taking an adage from Watergate, to follow the money.
(3) The Educational Ecosystem of Literature as Securitisation
Three, our task then in philosophy of education might be defined by the need to draw out such
systemic networks in order to clarify the political aspects of the aesthetic. Our case study of PEN is
apposite here since it specifically unpicks the tortured bonds linking politics and literature.
Philosophers of education, no less than any other socio‐cultural critics, need here, then, not only to
be informed by but to be informers of what Bronfenbrenner (1976) describes as an ecology of
education systems, in other words, not simply examining institutional environmentspolicy,
curriculum, aims and purposesbut setting these as part of wider ideological and political framings
(Mueller and Toutain, 2015). Bronfenbrenner (1976) made ground‐breaking inroads into the
application of ecological models to education. His concerns were with rigour of scientific method.
His notion of the ‘experimental ecology of education’ encouraging the study of education not simply
in ‘the laboratory’ but in systems of lived educational experience, for example those formative
influences on learning such as institutional, socio‐economic, political, parental environments.
Subsequent work by Bronfenbrenner (1976, 1994) placed the same scientific emphasis upon
experimental method. Bronfenbrenner used the term ecology, then, to refer to systemic factors that
impact on environments of and for learning. His methodological case being that failure to account
for such environmental factors would mean educational research would be less not more
scientifically rigorous than work undertaken under test or ‘laboratory’ conditions. Since
Bronfenbrenner, others have adopted ecological models in a variety of disciplinary settings (Aldrich
et al., 2008; Darling, 2007; Moen et al., 1995; Mueller and Toutain, 2015; Nambisan and Baron,
2013; Odum, 1997; Pickett and Cadenasso, 2002).
We may similarly think of our nexus of engagements as just another aspect of what intelligence
theorists have called ‘security communities’ (Adler and Barnett, 1998). Our adaptation and
refinement of an ecological metaphor suggests CIA engagement in literature and the arts is enacted
as cultural engagement through a process of securitisation. Post‐Snowden and post‐Assange,
continuing security and intelligence agency efforts to gather knowledge from a diversity of means
and sources has helped define what some have termed a surveillance society (Greenwald, 2015;
Harding, 2014; Leigh and Harding, 2011). The ‘Copenhagen School’ has done much to define
‘securitisation’ (Taureck, 2006; Williams, 2003; for critiques, see Buzan and Waever, 1997). Buzan
(1991) People, States, and Fear was the basis for ground‐breaking theorisations which identified five
security sectors: military, political, societal, economic and environmental (Buzan et al., 1998; Buzan
and Hansen 2009; also Huysmans, 1998; Adler and Barnett, 1998). Bagge Laustsen and Wæver
(2000) later added religion as a sixth sector category. And as a major study of the political theology
of the arts (Gearon, 2015), cultural and religious factors have come increasingly to the fore in
considerations of the political aesthetic. CIA engagement in the arts and in PEN especially we
determine as part of this process of securitisation, a process which seems beneath the radar of
philosophy of education, but one which we consider, for the reasons outlined, worth bringing to
In sum, then, epistemologically, we suggest philosophers of education sharpen their treatments of
literature in education with more realistic and informed assessments of the aesthetic in political and,
here, security contexts. Methodologically, by implication, we also make the case for philosophers of
education to make greater and more frequent use of primary documentary and archival sources in
order to be able to substantiate such sharpened treatments.
The case we present here, then, is illustrative of a neglected cultural consideration for the arts in
education and we wish to provoke debate. We have demonstrated through our case study on PEN
and the CIA that there is a correlation between security and intelligence interests and the arts. Its
interface with education though has been less thoroughly examined, though there are some
interesting pockets of historical studies (Sinclair, 1989; Stonor Saunders, 2013; Winks, 1987).
Yet when a former director of the CIA (Dulles, 2006) writes a memoir/history of intelligence and uses
the language of the aesthetic to title and frame the workThe Craft of Intelligencewe can assume
the security and intelligence agencies have deep‐set interests in aesthetics that philosophers of
education might think worth noting.
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Cambridge Core - Texts in Political Thought - Rousseau: The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings - edited by Victor Gourevitch
In politics these people [who uphold the ‘materialist creed’] are democrats and republicans… In economics these people are socialists… In science these men are positivists… In art they are naturalists (Kandinsky 1977 [1911], pp. 10-11). Modernism is a term of Anglo-American provenance with both literarycritical and art-historical variants.1 It arose in the 1920s (Sultan 1987, p. 97), but did not become popular until the two decades after 1945 when formalist criticism held sway. Such ‘new critics’ thought of modernism as an approach to literature and the arts, emerging just before the FirstWorldWar and dominant in the inter-war period, that emphasised aesthetic autonomy and formalism, detachment and irony, mythic themes, and self-reflective attention to acts of creation and composition. The novels of Joyce andWoolf, the plays of Pirandello and Yeats, the music of Schoenberg and Stravinsky, and the abstract art of Kandinsky and Mondrian were paradigmatic. The term was then appropriated byWestern Marxists debating the properly revolutionary approach to aesthetics and cultural critique.2 More recent usage has greatly expanded and somewhat altered the concept, but it remains historiographical in the sense that the artists, writers and movements considered modernist by the critics rarely used the term to refer to themselves. It also remains essentially contested; there is no single, widely accepted usage. I will therefore begin by indicating how it is being used here.
Secrecy and the Media is the first book to examine the development of the D-Notice system, which regulates the UK media's publication of British national security secrets. It is based on official documents, many of which have not previously been available to a general audience, as well as on media sources. From Victorian times, British governments have consistently seen the need, in the public interest, to prevent the media publishing secret information which would endanger national security. The UK media have meanwhile continuously resisted official attempts to impose any form of censorship, arguing that a free press is in the public interest. Both sides have normally seen the pitfalls of attempting to resolve this sometimes acrimonious conflict of interests by litigation, and have together evolved a system of editorial self-regulation, assisted by day-to-day independent expert advice, known colloquially as the D-Notice System. The book traces the development of this system from nineteenth-century colonial campaigns, through two world wars, to modern operations and counter-terrorism in the post-Cold War era, up to the beginning of the Labour government in 1997. Examples are drawn from media, political and official sources (some not yet open), and cover not only defence issues (including Special Forces), but also the activities of the secret intelligence services MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. These cases relate principally to the UK, but also to American and other allies' interests. The story of how this sometimes controversial institution now operates in the modern world will be essential reading for those in the media and government departments, and for academics and students in the fields of security, defence and intelligence, as well as being an accessible exposé for the general reader. Nicholas Wilkinson served in the Royal Navy 1959-98, and from 1999 to 2004 he ran the independent Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee. He was a Press Complaints Commissioner from 2005 to 2008, and is a Cabinet Office Historian.
This book offers the first account of the foundation, organisation and activities of the NATO Information Service (NATIS) during the Cold War.