‘I’m not sure that Bond is a spy... I think it’s a great mistake if one’s talking about espionage literature to include Bond in this category at all. It seems to me he’s more some kind of international gangster with, as it is said, a licence to kill.’I’m a great admirer of John le Carré, but I don’t agree with this assessment. James Bond is an agent of British intelligence, and the books and films featuring him do not just deserve to be included in the canon of espionage fiction – they have been enormously influential within it. Fleming wrote very different books from le Carré, but both are landmark writers in the spy genre, just as Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle are in detective fiction. Fleming’s works were, for the most part, great fun – but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth giving a closer look.
Monday, August 23, 2010
007 In Depth: Introduction
Last week, the BBC put archive interviews with 40 British novelists online, among them John le Carré and Len Deighton. As discussed in my last two posts, le Carré had some strong words in his 1966 interview with Malcolm Muggeridge about James Bond: