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The Aesthetics of the CIA (Essay, 1979)

The Aesthetics of the CIA is an unpublished essay Elman wrote for a magazine that went under after it had commissioned the work.

“The danger to writing,” Elman wrote, “is when spies act like writers, as instruments of governmental policy. In recent years this has happened so very often that a whole new genre of literature has emerged in our world in which High Culture has been made to serve low ends, and even imaginative writers have invented cover stories to perform treasonable acts against the civilized world of letters.”

Segments of this essay is quoted in, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters by Frances Stonor Saunders (New Press, 1999).