what happened in 1938? -- a background question on "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" by John le Carré

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what happened in 1938? -- a background question on "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" by John le Carré

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Fev 25, 2012, 11:57 pm

Chapter 1, when Thursgood was questioning Jim Prideaux's CV --
'I happen to know he was up at Oxford in thirty-eight. Why didn't he finish? What went wrong?'
'I seem to recall there was an interlude round about then,' said Mr Stroll after another age. 'But I expect you're too young to remember it.'
, well, is there something happened in 1938 that caused Jim left Oxford? could anyone please enlighten me here?

Editado: Fev 26, 2012, 1:26 am

Did Jim become a spy for the Soviet Union? In the 1920's and 1930's the Soviets actively recruited young men at Oxford and Cambridge, especially the latter, to be agents for the USSR.

I haven't read the book but made reasonable guess based on the title, time period and knowing WW II was soon to happen despite Prime Minister Chamberlain returning from a meeting with Hitler in September 1938 and saying to the English people there will be "Peace for our time."

Check this reference to the book title in Wikipedia.


I hope this helps.

Fev 26, 2012, 1:42 am

>2 pmarshall:

Nah - he is an English spy - after the war he even was spying for England in Czechoslovakia.

I *think* (and I need to reread the book) that what he is saying is that he knows that he was there in '38 but then the War started in '39 and as Jim was a spy and with the SIS, he more or less never finished. So the '38 reference may be because of when he had been recruited or when he had been posted or something like that. But I do not think that it was a major event from history.

Fev 26, 2012, 9:18 am

Being an English spy doesn't mean he was not a Soviet spy. Look at the famous five Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Duart Maclean, Anthony Blunt and the fifth un-named member. An example, Philby worked for a period of time with MI6. and the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (New York 1974). John le Carré’s novelisation of his experiences of the revelations in the 1950s and the 1960s which exposed the Cambridge Five traitors."*

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Five


Fev 26, 2012, 4:49 pm

I agree with AnnieMod, he was at Oxford in 1938, but the war began in '39, interrupting many educations. Referring to the war as an interlude is dry understatement.

Fev 26, 2012, 6:25 pm

>4 pmarshall:

But in this case he is not.

Editado: Fev 29, 2012, 11:27 pm

>4 pmarshall:
maybe it's a bit spoilt here, but Jim later killed the mole, i think he's not a double agent as the Cambridge Five.

Fev 29, 2012, 11:27 pm

>3 AnnieMod: agree, this makes sense...

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