The Three Ages of Bond: Part 1 – Blunt Instrument Bond (1953-1956)

Artistic Licence Renewed

Words by Revelator

Here is part 1 of 3 that we’re calling “the three ages of Bond.”

Thanks to Daniel Craig (and his underrated predecessor Timothy Dalton) we’ve heard a lot of the phrase “Fleming’s Bond,” as in “Craig comes closest to Fleming’s Bond, the ruthless government assassin” and so on. This phrase has always rang false to me, because Fleming’s version of the character was never fixed. “Fleming’s Bond” assumes that James Bond remained a static character, but Fleming lived with Bond for over a decade, during which his relationship with the character changed. There are several Bonds we could call “Fleming’s Bond”—the different versions of the character roughly correspond to the beginning, middle, and end of Fleming’s career as a novelist.

001. Blunt Instrument Bond (1953-1956)

Fleming’s original conception of Bond, the characterless government assassin: “The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was…

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The Literary James Bond

Fantastic post by man BAMF…Actually one of the best rundowns on Bond out there. I’m a fan of the literary Bond and really don’t care for the movie version. But I can stomach the Sean Connery Bond. Very good stuff.

BAMF Style

Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger (1964), wearing the closest cinematic approximation of the suit imagined by Ian Fleming for his character. Inset is a drawing created by Fleming and commissioned for the Daily Express comic strip. Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger (1964), wearing the closest cinematic approximation of the suit imagined by Ian Fleming for his character. Inset is a drawing created by Fleming and commissioned for the Daily Express comic strip.

Vitals

James Bond, British government agent

1950s-1960s

Background

106 years ago, on May 28, 1908, Ian Lancaster Fleming was born in Mayfair to an eventual member of parliament and his wife. Throughout his life, Fleming would be a journalist, a Naval Intelligence officer, and – the role in which he is most remembered – the author who introduced the world to James Bond.

After World War II, Fleming was demobilized from his position at British Naval Intelligence and began working as a newspaper manager, a job allowing him three months vacation. Fleming, whose ambition had long been to write a spy novel, used those winter months to retreat to Jamaica.

Uneasy about…

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Bond, you know the rest…

“…Bond, like his literary creator, Ian Fleming, is always a snob but never a bore. His obsession with correct style is a defense against the coarse vulgarities of a changing world in which a conspiracy of global power and money seem to have the upper hand. In the Bondian fairy tale, they come a cropper against Savile Row suits and mordant asides. To the lethal sirens—think of the flame-haired vixen Fiona Volpe in Thunderball or Xenia Onatopp in 1995’s GoldenEye (like Dickens, Fleming loved making his names act out the part)—Bond delivers lashings of rough sex and death. But to the drippy D-cup Andromedas, chained to their rocks by some lunatic captor, he is always the liberating knight-gallant…”

Shake us. Stir us. James Bond is back and cooler than ever. The iconic spy at 50. By Simon Schama.