THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN PEN

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Ian Fleming, the author who created James Bond, could never have lived a life like James Bond, could he? Could he?

Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908 - 1964), British author and creator of the James Bond character. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

To describe a writer who sold 40m copies of his books in his lifetime — inaugurating one of the most profitable franchises in history — as underrated would seem counter-intuitive, but Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, has always seemed to provoke the ‘yes, but’ response (‘Yes, but Le Carré was the real deal’; ‘Yes, but he was too sybaritic to be serious’ — as if the two were mutually exclusive). To be fair, Fleming himself was often foremost among the non-cheerleaders. He described the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, as “an oafish opus”, and further downplayed expectations in a 1963 BBC radio interview: “I’m not in the Shakespeare stakes. I have no ambition.”

Contributor

Stuart Husband

Published

June 2022

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