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définition - Tinker,_Tailor,_Soldier,_Spy

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

                   
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy  
First US edition cover
First US edition cover
Author(s) John le Carré
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series George Smiley /
The Quest for Karla
Genre(s) Spy novel
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton (UK)
Random House (USA)
Publication date June 1974
Media type Print (hardcover & paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-394-49219-6 (hardback edition)
OCLC Number 867935
Dewey Decimal 823/.9/14
LC Classification PZ4.L4526 Ti3 PR6062.E33
Preceded by The Looking-Glass War
Followed by The Honourable Schoolboy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a 1974 spy novel by British author John le Carré, featuring George Smiley. Smiley is a taciturn, middle-aged intelligence agent who has been forced into retirement. He is recalled to hunt down a Soviet mole in the "Circus," the highest echelon of the British Secret Intelligence Service. In keeping with le Carré's work, the narrative begins in medias res with the repatriation of a captured British spy. The background is supplied during the book through a series of flashbacks.

Contents

  Chronology

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the first novel of the Karla Trilogy, the second and third novels being The Honourable Schoolboy (1977) and Smiley's People (1979), later published in an omnibus edition as The Quest for Karla (1982). These are the fifth, sixth, and seventh le Carré spy novels featuring George Smiley.

  Title

Control, the Circus Chief, assigns the code names "Tinker," "Tailor," "Soldier," "Poorman," and "Beggarman," to the five senior intelligence officers under suspicion of being a Soviet mole, with the intention that should an agent called Prideaux uncover information about the identity of the mole he can relay it back using an easy-to-recall code the mole is unaware of. The names are derived from the English children's rhyme "Tinker, Tailor":

Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier, Sailor,
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggarman, Thief.

The codename "Sailor" was not used as it sounded too much like "Tailor," and Control drops "Rich Man" resulting in Toby Esterhase being code-named "Poor Man." George Smiley is "Beggarman."

  Plot

Through a love affair in Hong Kong with Irina, the wife of a Moscow Centre intelligence officer, British agent Ricki Tarr discovers that there may be a high-ranking Soviet mole, codenamed "Gerald," within the Circus. After going undercover to avoid Soviet agents, Tarr alerts his immediate superior, Peter Guillam, who in turn notifies Undersecretary Oliver Lacon, the Civil Service officer responsible for the Intelligence Services. Lacon enlists George Smiley, the retired former Deputy Head of the Service, to investigate. Smiley and Guillam must investigate without the knowledge of the Circus, which is headed by Sir Percy Alleline and his deputies Bill Haydon, Roy Bland, and Toby Esterhase, as any of these could be the mole.

Smiley suspects that Gerald was responsible for the failure of Operation Testify, a mission in Communist Czechoslovakia, the ostensible purpose of which was to meet with a defecting Czech Army general. Operation Testify ended with Circus agent Jim Prideaux shot in the back and tortured, and caused the disgrace and dismissal of Control, head of Circus, who subsequently dies. Prideaux, who survived and was repatriated and dismissed from the Circus, reveals to Smiley that Control suspected the mole's existence, and the true aim of Operation Testify was to discover the mole's identity. Prideaux reveals that the Moscow Centre personnel who interrogated him already knew this, and it becomes clear to Smiley that the operation was a trap set by Moscow Centre to discredit Control and remove the threat to their mole Gerald.

Percy Alleline, who was Control's rival, has risen to head the Circus as a result of seemingly top-grade Soviet intelligence from a source code-named "Merlin." The Merlin material is handled by a secret committee, consisting of Alleline, Haydon, Bland, and Esterhase, in an operation called Witchcraft. Smiley's investigation leads him to believe that the Merlin source is false, and is being used by Moscow Centre to influence the leadership of the Circus. Cleverly, Moscow Centre has induced the Circus leadership to believe that Merlin maintains his cover in Moscow by feeding the Russians low-grade British intelligence, "chicken feed," from a false Circus mole. As a result, the leaders of the Circus suppress any rumours of a mole, protecting the actual mole.

Smiley contrives a trap for the mole, using a communication from Tarr, and Gerald is revealed to be Bill Haydon, a respected colleague and former friend who once had an affair with Smiley's now estranged wife, Ann. Haydon is arrested, and acknowledges he was recruited by Karla, the Moscow Centre spymaster. Percy Alleline is removed, and Smiley is appointed temporary head of Circus to deal with the fallout. Haydon is to be exchanged to the Soviet Union for several of the agents he betrayed, but is mysteriously killed while in custody, shortly before he was due to leave England. Though his killer is not explicitly revealed, it is strongly implied to be Prideaux, his old partner, whom he betrayed in Operation Testify.

  Characters

  Major characters

  • George Smiley. Control’s right hand man, but forced out of the Circus after Control’s retirement. Educated at Lincoln College, Oxford, from which he was recruited by Circus "talent spotter" Fanshaw. Specialist in German.
  • Percy Alleline. Chief of the Circus following Control's ousting. “A lowland Scot and a son of the Manse.” “A bit of a athlete.” “Missed the war by a year or two.” Former field agent; Control despised him. Cambridge. One of the four who ran Operation Witchcraft.
  • Roy Bland: Second in command to Bill Haydon of London Station. “Cockney voice.” Son of a dockworker who was “a passionate trade-unionist and a Party member.” “A warm-hearted and impulsive fellow, red-haired and burly,” Smiley had recruited him. Oxford. One of the four who ran Operation Witchcraft.
  • “Control”: Former head of the Circus; forced to retire and now dead. Before the war he was a Cambridge don.
  • Toby Esterhase. “Runs between Bill Haydon and Roy Bland like a poodle.” Ran the "lamplighters" (see "Jargon" below) when Control was in charge. White hair. “Dressed like a male model, but was unmistakably a fighter.” “Tiny Toby spoke no known language perfectly, but he spoke them all.” “Toby Esterhase would put the dogs on his own mother if it bought him a pat on the back from Alleline.” Hungarian; recruited by Smiley as “a starving student in Vienna.” One of the four who ran Operation Witchcraft.
  • Peter Guillam. Currently in charge of the “scalp hunters” (see "Jargon") at the Brixton location (“they were to handle the hit-and-run jobs that were too dirty or too risky for the residents abroad . . . . they weren’t gradual, and they weren’t gentle, either.”)
  • Bill Haydon. Commander of London Station; worked with the Circus since the war. “Dashing Bill Haydon, our latter day Lawrence of Arabia.” “Painter, polemicist, socialite.” “Of that pre-war set that seemed to have vanished for good.” Reputed to be bisexual. Father was a high-court judge. Close companion of Prideaux. Oxford. One of Ann Smiley’s many cousins, also her lover. One of the four who ran Operation Witchcraft.
  • Oliver Lacon. “Of the Cabinet Office, a senior advisor to various mixed committees and a watchdog of intelligence.” Recruited Smiley to find the mole. As Guillam phrased it, “Whitehall’s head prefect.” Middle daughter Jackie. Cambridge.
  • Jim Prideaux (code name: Jim Ellis). Agent who was shot in Czechoslovakia on an operation code-named “Testify,” an assignment that was blown to the Soviets; now a schoolteacher. Close companion of Haydon. “A large fellow.” Athlete; fluent in languages, raised partially abroad. Oxford.
  • Connie Sachs. Former Russia analyst for the Circus, forced to retire, now runs a rooming house in Oxford. “A big woman, bigger than Smiley by a head.”
  • Ricki Tarr. A field agent; the one who found Irina. Smiley originally gave him his job. Works for Guillam.

  Minor characters

  • Ben. A young man who runs the telegraph at Paris station.
  • Boris. Ostensibly a Soviet trade delegate, actually a KGB agent. He was Ricki Tarr’s original target in Hong Kong. Common-law marriage to Irina.
  • P. Bryant. A guard at the London station.
  • Sam Collins. Former agent with the Circus, now runs a gambling house. “Probably fifty, but he still looked thirty-five.” Trim, with greying hair and a black moustache.
  • Camilla. Peter Guillam’s girlfriend of the moment, a flautist.
  • Diana Dolphin. Works at London Station. “One of those groomed Circus brides whom no one ever marries.”
  • Fawn. A gunman and bodyguard working for the scalphunters.
  • “Gerald.” Moscow’s code name for their mole in the Circus
  • Mrs. Pope Graham. Proprietor of Hotel Islay, where Smiley sets up his operational headquarters.
  • Irina. a Soviet agent, attempted to defect to Ricki Tarr in Hong Kong; told him that there was a sleeper agent in the Circus.
  • Ivlov (code name “Lapin”). A clerk in Soviet intelligence; was the legman for Polyakov in London. One-time lover of Irina.
  • “Karla.” Code name for the head of the Soviet spy agency “Moscow Center.”
  • Steve Mackelvore. Head of the Paris station. “A Circus elder, a squat white-haired Yorkshireman with a long record of consular appointments which in the eyes of the world had brought him no advancement.”
  • Roddy Martindale. A pompous bore, not employed by the Circus, but “haunted the fringes of the secret world.” Works for the Foreign Office. “Affected buttonholes and pale suits.” “Spoke in a confiding, upper-class bellow.”
  • Max. Foreign, speaks German and Czech; works in a garage, but formerly a part-time operative for the Circus. He was supporting Prideaux during Operation Testify. “Broad and powerful,” half a head taller than Smiley.
  • Millie McCraig. A “professional evesdropper,” she runs the safe house in Camden. “A wiry Scottish widow.”
  • Inspector Mendel. Serves as the go-between to ferry documents from Guillam to Smiley. “Formerly of the Special Branch, known to both Guillam and Smiley.” “Quirkish, loping tracker of a man, sharp-faced and sharp-eyed.”
  • Alexey Polyakov (real name Colonel Grigory Viktorov). Soviet embassy attaché for cultural affairs in London; a KGB agent trained by Karla.
  • Bill Roach (nicknamed “Jumbo” by Prideaux). A schoolboy.
  • Sand. Camilla’s flute instructor.
  • Ann Smiley. Smiley’s wife. Engaged in a series of affairs.
  • Lauder Strickland. Controls disbursement of money at the Circus.
  • Jerry Westerby. A newspaperman; used to do occasional courier jobs for the Circus, recruited by Bland, then worked for Toby. “He was a big man . . . had once been a wicketkeeper for a country cricket team.”

  Jargon

The characters in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy use a great deal of jargon for matters specific to their trade, plus a few Britishisms like mews (in the sense of apartment), peach (to inform against, betray) shirty, redbrick and, D-Notice, touches of French as thé dansant, coq au vin and German terms such as Märchen and Gemütlichkeit. Spy lingo examples are:

Term Definition[1]
Agent An espionage agent or spy; a citizen who is recruited by a foreign government to spy on his own country. This term should not be confused with a member of an intelligence service who recruits spies; they are referred to as intelligence officers or more particularly case officers.
Babysitters Bodyguards.
Circus The in-house name for MI6, the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service), which collects foreign intelligence. "Circus" refers to the (fictional) locale of the headquarters in Cambridge Circus, London.
Coat trailing Denotes behavior that is deliberately provocative, of writing, speech, behavior, et cetera.
Comecon A reference to Comecon, an economic organization under the organization of Soviet Union comprising the countries of the Eastern Bloc along with a number of socialist states elsewhere in the world.
Comintern See Comintern (1919–43), a communist organization, organized in Moscow in 1919.
The Competition MI5, the UK's internal counter-espionage and counter-terrorism service, which the Circus also calls "The Security Mob."
The Cousins The CIA in particular and the U.S. intelligences services in general.
Ferrets Technicians who find and remove hidden microphones, cameras, etc.
Honey-trap A sexual blackmailing operation.
Housekeepers The internal auditors and financial disciplinarians of the Circus.
Inquisitors Interrogators who debrief Circus intelligence officers and defectors.
Janitors The Circus headquarters operations staff, including those who watch doors and verify that people entering secure areas are authorised to do so.
Lamplighters A section which provides surveillance and couriers.
Lotus eater Someone who affects amnesia of past covert activities.
Mailfist job An espionage job denoting an operation with an object of assassination.
Mole An agent recruited long before he has access to secret material, who subsequently works his way into the target government organization. Le Carre has said this was a term actually used in the KGB; an equivalent term used in Western intelligence services was sleeper agent.
Mothers Secretaries and trusted typists serving the senior officers of the Circus.
Nuts and Bolts The engineering department who develop and manufacture espionage devices.
Pavement Artists Members of surveillance teams who inconspicuously follow people in public.
Pepper Pot Probably a reference to a tall tower room, one story higher than the rest of the building, probably at a corner; see Pepper Pot, Brighton, plus [1].
Persil The cleanest security category available, used of questionable foreigners, "Clean as fabric washed in Persil."
Reptile fund The source of money for covert operations, a slush fund, [2], [3].
Scalphunters Handle assassination, blackmail, burglary, kidnap, etc.; the section was sidelined after Control's dismissal.
Shoemakers Forgers of documents and the like.
Wranglers Radio signal analysts and cryptographers; it derives from the term wrangler used of Cambridge University maths students.

The television adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy also uses the term "burrower" for a researcher recruited from a university, a term taken from the novel's immediate sequel The Honourable Schoolboy. Le Carre has said that most of these terms were his own invention and were not used in MI6.[1]

  Background

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is John le Carré's novelisation of his experiences of the revelations in the 1950s and the 1960s which exposed the Cambridge Five traitors, among them Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Anthony Blunt, John Cairncross and Kim Philby, as KGB moles employed by the SIS.

Karla is modelled on KGB Gen. Rem Krassilnikov, whose obituary in the New York Times newspaper reported that the CIA considered him as such. Moreover, skewing in favour of the latter, Smiley reports that Karla was trained by "Berg," Alexander Mikhailovich Orlov, an NKVD intelligence officer who defected to the West in 1938.

The character Bill Haydon is derived from Kim Philby, who, in the late 1950s, transcended SIS suspicions that he too might be a traitor, given his connection with the defector Guy Burgess, and continued as an SIS intelligence officer until defecting to the USSR in 1963. David Cornwell (John le Carré) worked as an intelligence officer for the SIS (MI6) during Philby's tenure, and has said that Philby betrayed his identity to the Russians, which was a factor in the 1964 termination of his intelligence career.[2][3]

Connie Sachs, the Circus's principal Russia researcher, is modelled upon Milicent Bagot.

  Adaptations

  Television

  The opening titles of the 1979 television adaptation

In 1979, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was adapted to television as a seven-part series for the BBC, featuring Alec Guinness as George Smiley, of the SIS; the initial broadcast coincided with the British Government announcing that Anthony Blunt, the Keeper of the Queen's Pictures, was one of the Cambridge Five traitors. In the United States, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) broadcast it as part of its "Great Performances" series, introduced by the Canadian journalist Robert MacNeil, who explained the workings of SIS.

The main title credits feature a matryoshka doll progressively revealing a doll more irate than the previous, with the final doll being faceless, an allusion to Winston Churchill's describing Russia as "A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." Analogously, the literary George Smiley concludes that only Karla saw the last doll in the British traitor. The end credits music, an arrangement of Nunc dimittis ("Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace") from the Book of Common Prayer (1662), was composed by Geoffrey Burgon for organ, trumpet and boy soprano; the score earned the Ivor Novello Award for 1979. The end credits appear over a stationary shot of Oxford University.

In the United States, subsequent syndicated broadcasts and DVD releases compressed the seven British episodes into six, in which scenes were shortened and the narrative sequence altered. In the British original, Smiley visits Connie Sachs before Peter Guillam's burglary of the Circus, while the US version reverses the sequence of these events, in line with the time sequence of the novel.

  Cast

  Radio

In 1988, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a dramatisation, by Rene Basilico, of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in seven weekly half-hour episodes, produced by John Fawcett-Wilson. It is available as a BBC audiobook in CD and audio cassette formats. Notably, Bernard Hepton portrays George Smiley. Nine years earlier, he had portrayed Toby Esterhase in the television adaption.

In 2009, BBC Radio 4 also broadcast new dramatisations, by Shaun McKenna, of the eight George Smiley novels by John le Carré, featuring Simon Russell Beale as Smiley. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was broadcast as three, one-hour episodes, from Sunday 29 November to Sunday 13 December 2009 in BBC Radio 4's Classic Serial slot. The producer was Steven Canny.[4]

  Film

Swedish director Tomas Alfredson made a film adaptation in 2011 based on a screenplay by Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan. The film was released in the UK and Ireland on 16 September 2011, and in the United States on 9 December 2011. It included a cameo appearance by John le Carré in the Christmas party scene as the older man in the grey suit who stands suddenly to sing the Soviet anthem. The film received numerous Academy Award nominations including a nomination for Best Actor for Gary Oldman.

  References

Notes

  External links

   
               

 

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