Sex for dinner, death for breakfast: James Bond and the body
This study is concerned with the literature, films, artwork, and advertising associated with Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 and examines various representations of the human body that play an integral role in his adventures. For Fleming, the body is simultaneously a site of secrecy, revelation, contact, and exposition presaging the future of politics, culture, sexuality, and consumption. The various accoutrements that are common to the 007 adventures—including elaborate references to fashion, food and drink, sex, and methods of execution—accentuate and attune this focus. An examination of these elements and their bodily referents serves to reveal the extent to which these narratives are products of their unique cultural and historical moments and the way in which these narratives foreshadowed what was to come.
The novels under analysis serve as the bookends of Fleming's canon. Bond's debut, Casino Royale (1953), depicts Fleming's secret agent as a "blunt instrument" employed by the British Secret Service in an effort to undermine the finances of the Soviet spy apparatus in an era still dominated by memories of the last World War. The final Bond novel from Fleming, The Man with the Golden Gun (1964), finds a damaged 007 striving to prove the worth of his body and mind by pitting himself against the most deadly freelance hit man in the world. The films under study—including Casino Royale adaptations produced in 1954, 1967, and 2006, as well as the film adaptation of The Man with the Golden Gun released in 1974—serve as representations of four separate and distinct decades, each demanding new interpretations of Fleming's classic characters, plots, and the accompanying symbolic bodies.
The body of James Bond represents—then, now, and perhaps later—the body politic in its portrayal of what we were, are, and may well be. The appetites of the characters that populate these adventures—for clothing, food, sex, and killing—are our appetites. This study of the Bond phenomenon reveals the ways in which Fleming's popular fiction and the unending film series based upon it represent and reframe cultural fears, anxieties, hopes, and desires grounded in the body.
British and Irish literature;
0593: British and Irish literature
0900: Film studies