28 May, 1908 – 12 August, 1964
28 May, 1908 – 12 August, 1964
Article by Revelator
After the narrative slack of Diamonds Are Forever, Fleming decided to better himself with From Russia with Love. Because its story was entirely structured around a deathtrap for one man, it was important for that man to be human enough to hold the audience’s empathy. This demanded a more rounded Bond, and Fleming was forced to further personalize his hero, giving an exact physical description of character and filling in his past history.
In Moonraker Fleming gave us details of Bond’s everyday life in London. Now we’re given a fuller portrait, and see Bond bored at work, reminiscing about the innocence of his teenage years in Kitzbühel, worrying that he’s “pimping for England” (and wondering if he’s capable of it), experiencing fear when his airplane’s caught in a storm, and so forth. This Bond even has an outright distaste for cold-blooded killing, in…
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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.
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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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.
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.
James Bond, British government agent
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.
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“…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…”
The Literary James Bond Magazine
The unexamined life is not worth living.
(n): An office or position that provides its occupant with an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue.
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