Literary sources in the archives of military intelligence

The post on this site about literary papers within business archives attracted some attention and comment. A more unusual example of literary papers within non-literary collections was described in a recent article by Lara Feigel (“File number P.F.97,471: anti-imperialist authoress”, The Guardian, 14 November 2015). In August 2015, the UK security service MI5 released four large files documenting the activities of the novelist and Nobel Prizewinner Doris Lessing, who was spied on for many years by the intelligence services of the UK, the then Southern Rhodesia and South Africa. Despite the near-comical incompetence of the spies, the papers give many insights into the day-to-day life of a left-wing intellectual and literary author.

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