Fleming, Ian


Fleming, Ian

▪ British author
in full  Ian Lancaster Fleming  
born May 28, 1908, London, England
died August 12, 1964, Canterbury, Kent
 suspense-fiction novelist whose character James Bond, the stylish, high-living British secret service agent 007, became one of the most successful and widely imitated heroes of 20th-century popular fiction.

      The son of a Conservative MP and the grandson of a Scottish banker, Fleming was born into a family of wealth and privilege and was educated in England, Germany, and Switzerland. Before settling down as a full-time writer, Fleming was a journalist in Moscow (1929–33), a banker and stockbroker (1935–39), a high-ranking officer in British naval intelligence during World War II, and foreign manager of the London Sunday Times (1945–49).

      Casino Royale (1953) was the first of his 12 James Bond novels. Packed with violent action, hairbreadth escapes, international espionage, clever spy gadgets, intrigue, and gorgeous women, the books became international best sellers. The Bond books gained wide popularity in the United States after the newly elected president, John F. Kennedy (Kennedy, John F.), named a Bond novel on his list of favourite books in 1961.

      Bond, with his propensity for gambling and fast cars, became the prototype of the handsome, clever playboy-hero of the late 1950s and '60s. He was the symbol in the West of the burgeoning consumer age, indulging in only the best brand-name products and enjoying access to the foremost electronic gadgets of his day. To some readers, Bond's incessant name-dropping of commercial products was off-putting, but the tactic enabled Fleming to create a realism unusual in the popular fiction of his day. Bond's mannerisms and quirks, from the way he liked his martinis (“shaken, not stirred”) to the way he introduced himself (“Bond, James Bond”), soon became famous around the world. All the Bond novels, notably From Russia, with Love (1957), Dr. No (1958), Goldfinger (1959), and Thunderball (1961), were made into popular motion pictures, although many deviated from Fleming's original plots.

      Fleming's books were roundly criticized by many highbrow critics and novelists. Paul Johnson lambasted the Bond phenomenon in a famous essay titled “Sex, Snobbery, and Sadism,” and the spy novelist David Cornwall (John le Carré (le Carré, John)) criticized Bond's immorality (“He's a sort of licensed criminal who, in the name of false patriotism, approves of nasty crimes”). Feminists have long objected to Bond's chauvinistic ways, and the Soviet Union, as the enemy in so many of Bond's Cold War capers, attacked Fleming for creating “a world where laws are written with a pistol barrel.” Fleming countered that “Bond is not a hero, nor is he depicted as being very likeable or admirable.…He's not a bad man, but he is ruthless and self-indulgent. He enjoys the fight—but he also enjoys the prizes.”

      Despite (or because of) such criticism, the Bond stories grew in popularity. The 007 trademark became one of the most successful in merchandising history, giving birth in the 1960s to a spate of Bond-related products, from toys and games to clothes and toiletries. James Bond films continued into the 21st century, and they have reportedly grossed more than $1 billion. The book series was also continued after Fleming's death, by such writers as Kingsley Amis (Amis, Sir Kingsley) (Colonel Sun [1968], under the pen name Robert Markham) and Sebastian Faulks (Devil May Care [2008]). Charlie Higson wrote a series of Young Bond novels for younger readers, one of which (SilverFin [2005]) was adapted into a graphic novel. The Moneypenny Diaries, which debuted in 2005, was a series written by Samantha Weinberg as the fictional editor Kate Westbrook. The books chronicle the adventures of Miss Moneypenny, a well-known side character in the original novels. There are numerous Bond-related Internet sites and fan clubs around the world.

      Fleming also published two collections of short stories featuring Bond. In addition, he wrote a children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1964), which was made into a feature film and whose main character, Commander Pott, perhaps summarized best the Fleming/Bond philosophy of life: “Never say ‘no' to adventures. Always say ‘yes,' otherwise you'll lead a very dull life.” Fleming's life and personality—from his wartime service and his caving and shark hunting to his and his family's hobnobbing with the rich and famous (when Fleming's father died, Winston Churchill wrote the obituary)—made him, in the opinion of many, a more compelling figure than even Bond, and as such he has been the subject of several biographies, including Andrew Lycett's Ian Fleming (1995).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fleming, Ian — ► (1908 64) Escritor y periodista británico. Entre 1945 y 1959 fue director de la edición extranjera del Sunday Times. Es el creador del popular personaje James Bond. Escribió Casino Royale (1953), Vive y deja morir (1954), entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Fleming,Ian Lancaster — Fleming, Ian Lancaster. 1908 1964. British writer noted for his spy novels featuring the secret agent James Bond. * * * …   Universalium

  • Fleming, Ian (Lancaster) — born May 28, 1908, London, Eng. died Aug. 12, 1964, Canterbury, Kent British suspense novelist. He worked as a Moscow journalist, banker, stockbroker, naval intelligence officer, and newspaper manager before publishing Casino Royale (1953), the… …   Universalium

  • Fleming, Ian (Lancaster) — (28 may. 1908, Londres, Inglaterra–12 ago. 1964, Canterbury, Kent). Novelista británico de suspense. Trabajó como periodista en Moscú, y como banquero, corredor de bolsa, oficial naval de inteligencia y administrador de un periódico antes de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ian Lancaster Fleming — (* 28. Mai 1908 in London; † 12. August 1964 in Canterbury, England) war ein britischer Schriftsteller. Bekanntheit erlangte er vor allem mit der von ihm erdachten Roman und Filmfigur James Bond sowie seinem Kinderbuch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ian Lancaster Fleming — Ian Fleming Pour les articles homonymes, voir Fleming. Ian Fleming Activité(s) romancier Naissance 28 mai 1908 Décès 12 août 1964 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Fleming — Fleming, Alexander Fleming, Ian Fleming, Victor * * * (as used in expressions) Fleming, Ian (Lancaster) Fleming, Peggy (Gale) Fleming, Sir Alexander …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Fleming — (Ian) (1908 1964) auteur anglais des James Bond (à partir de Casino royal, 1953). Fleming (Victor) (1883 1949) cinéaste américain: le Magicien d Oz (1939), Docteur Jekyll et M. Hyde (1941). Il signa seul Autant en emporte le vent (1939), mais d… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ian Fleming — Infobox Writer name = Ian Lancaster Fleming imagesize = 175px birthdate = birth date|1908|5|28|mf=y birthplace = Mayfair, London, England deathdate = death date and age |1964|8|12|1908|5|28 deathplace = Kent, England occupation = Author and… …   Wikipedia

  • Ian Fleming — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Fleming. Ian Fleming Activités Romancier Naissa …   Wikipédia en Français


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