Phi Beta Cons

C.I.A. Inspired by New Criticism!

James Jesus Angleton, head of the C.I.A. after the war, was nicknamed the Poet.  He co-founded a literary journal at Yale, corresponded with famous poets, including the undisputed master of English departments for many decades, T. S. Eliot, and was a fan of William Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity. According to an article by Malcolm Gladwell, Angleton saw New Criticism, with its concepts of ambiguity and multiple meanings, as a model for spy work. Such is the far-reaching effect of literature and the perennial versatility of careful, faithful reading. 


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