Ian Fleming Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Through a masterful suspension of disbelief, Ian Fleming fashioned the exploits of his flashy and conspicuous hero in the mold of earlier fictional adventurers such as Candide, Baron Münchhausen, and Phileas Fogg. Unlike these predecessors, however, James Bond is not freelance. He is a civil servant and does what he does for a living. In performing his duties for the British government, he also acts as a protector of the free world. Fleming’s creation has gained an international coterie of fans, from John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles to Prince Philip and, more important, among countless members of the hoi polloi who have bought his books in the multimillions, making James Bond (with much interest generated by the film adaptations) the greatest and most popular fantasy figure of modern times. Fleming attributed his stunning success to the lack of heroes in real life. “Well, I don’t regard James Bond precisely as a hero,” he added, “but at least he does get on and do his duty, in an extremely corny way, and in the end, after giant despair, he wins the girl or the jackpot or whatever it may be.”


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Comentale, Edward P., Stephen Watt, and Skip Willman, eds. Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005. Anthology of cultural criticism, both of Fleming’s novels and of the trajectory of his most famous creation outside the pages of those novels.

Lane, Sheldon, comp. and ed. For Bond Lovers Only. New York: Dell, 1965. This book contains eleven articles by different writers on aspects of the James Bond phenomenon, from books to films, including one by Jack Fishman quoting Fleming directly on his views about his literary creation.

Lycett, Andrew. Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995. A definitive work about the author.

McCormick, Donald. 17F: The Life of Ian Fleming. London: P. Owen, 1993. An attempt to capture Fleming’s extraordinary life, written by a friend of the author. Details his work as a journalist, as a spy, and as both at once, as well as his second life as a famous novelist.

Pearson, John. The Life of Ian Fleming, Creator of James Bond. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966. Pearson attempts to separate the author from his creation and also show the similarities.

Winder, Simon. The Man Who Saved Britain: A Personal Journey into the Disturbing World of James Bond. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Close study of the James Bond character, both as a person and as a representation of the Cold War mentality. Bibliographic references.

Woolf, Michael. “Ian Fleming’s Enigmas and Variations.” In Spy Thrillers: From Buchan to Le Carré, edited by Clive Bloom. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990. Reading of James Bond that seeks to place the superspy within the lineage of more realist Cold War espionage fiction.

Zeiger, Henry A. Ian Fleming: The Spy Who Came in with the Gold. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1965. A biography of Fleming, from his boyhood to his success as an author.