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The Language of Espionage: Mata Hari and the Creation of the Spy-Courtesan

Wheelwright, J. (2016). The Language of Espionage: Mata Hari and the Creation of the Spy-Courtesan. In: Declercq, C. & Walker, J. (Eds.), Languages and the First World War: Representation and Memory. (pp. 164-177). London: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/9781137550361_11


‘The Language of Espionage: Mata Hari and the creation of the spy courtesan’ by Julie Wheelwright offers an analysis of post-war narratives about Margaretha Zelle Macleod, the convicted espionage agent, which revived ancient fears of women using their erotic powers to extract information from men. The focus on this theme – often present in films, plays, biographies and even graphic novels – exposes concerns about women’s changing status in a time of traumatic upheaval. The enduring interest in Mata Hari, and therefore the linguistic meaning attached to her story, formed in the crucible of the Great War, offers insight into much larger themes about the individual’s relationship to the state, to their national, racial and sexual identity.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available available here
Publisher Keywords: Mata Hari, female agents, intelligence history, spies, First World War, France
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > English, Publishing & Creative Writing
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