British novelist Ian Fleming, the author of 14 bestselling books about a certain secret agent with a license to kill, comes into focus as never before in nephew Fergus Fleming’s new collection of his uncle’s correspondence, “The Man with the Golden Typewriter,” from Bloomsbury Publishing.
Fleming’s prolific letter writing traces the history of Bond from the first novel, “Casino Royale”—upon its publication, Fleming bought himself a gold-plated typewriter—to the character’s emergence as a global icon with Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman’s purchase of the film rights.
We have a few of Fleming’s choice tidbits below.
To his wife, on that famous typewriter:
“My love, this is only a tiny letter to try out my new typewriter and to see if it will write golden words since it is made of gold.”
To Bobby Kennedy, on the Kennedy effect:
“Thank you very much for your charming note of June 1st, and
I am delighted to take this opportunity to thank Kennedys everywhere for the
electric effect their commendation has had on my sales in America… I am most
amused to learn that I have been selected by the Russians as part of America’s
strong right hand!”
On choosing the character’s name:
“At that time one of my bibles was, and still is, ‘Birds of
the West Indies’ by James Bond, and it struck me that this name, brief, unromantic
and yet very masculine, was just what I needed…”
On Sean Connery:
“[T]he man they have chosen for Bond, Sean Connery, is a real
charmer — fairly unknown but a good actor and the right looks and physique.”
To an editor at the Sunday Times, on an erroneous book review:
“Could it be, Sir, that a sub-cell of SPECTRE is building up
in your literary department?”