"The Secret Theatre of our Society": the spy as outsider in Burgess

Rob Spence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In A Dead Man in Deptford Burgess presents a vividly realised picture of Elizabethan society, in which the practice of espionage features strongly. A major plot-thread concerns the initiation and immersion of Kit Marlowe in the world of secrets, violence and deception presided over by the spy-master Walsingham. This paper takes the realisation of Marlowe in this novel, the last work Burgess published in his lifetime, as the starting point for a retrospective exploration of Burgess’s repeated engagement with the trope of the outsider, and particularly the outsider as spy, whether employed by the state for purposes of espionage, or for more personal motives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarlowe, Shakespeare, Burgess: Anthony Burgess and his Elizabethan Affiliations
EditorsGraham Woodroffe
Place of PublicationAngers, France
PublisherPresses de l'université d'Angers
Number of pages153
ISBN (Print)2-9157551-48-x
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Publication series

NameAnthony Burgess Centre Series


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