© 2019

British Invasion and Spy Literature, 1871–1918

Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Society


  • Draws on literary sources to explore contemporary society during World War I

  • Explores areas that have previously been neglected or marginalised in the study of invasion and spy literature

  • Examines the content, audience, and reception of invasion and spy literature


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Danny Laurie-Fletcher
    Pages 1-30
  3. Danny Laurie-Fletcher
    Pages 97-135
  4. Danny Laurie-Fletcher
    Pages 137-166
  5. Danny Laurie-Fletcher
    Pages 223-230
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 231-264

About this book


This book examines British invasion and spy literature and the political, social, and cultural attitudes that it expresses. This form of literature began to appear towards the end of the nineteenth century and developed into a clearly recognised form during the Edwardian period (1901-1914). By looking at the origins and evolution of invasion literature, and to a lesser extent detective literature, up to the end of World War I Danny Laurie-Fletcher utilises fiction as a window into the mind-set of British society. There is a focus on the political arguments embedded within the texts, which mirrored debates in wider British society that took place before and during World War I – debates about military conscription, immigration, spy scares, the fear of British imperial decline, and the rise of Germany. These debates and topics are examined to show what influence they had on the creation of the intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, and how foreigners were perceived in society.


Spy Literature British Invasion Literature World War One Military Conscription Spy scares MI5 MI6 Intelligence services spy novel within a historical context Portrayal of British Women Wartime occupations

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.College of Humanities, Arts and Social SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaide, SAAustralia

About the authors

Danny Laurie-Fletcher is an adjunct researcher at Flinders University, Australia.

Bibliographic information