From Russia With Love

James Bond and Post-War England

The failed British invasion of Suez in 1957 has come to represent the end of Britain's reign of military, commercial and imperial dominance in the world. British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden resigned in the wake of this humiliating defeat; shortly thereafter, he traveled to Jamaica to visit the home of James Bond novelist Ian Fleming (Winder, 135). A few months later, Fleming wrote what is perhaps his most acclaimed novel, From Russia With Love, in which a British spy in the Mideast steals a device from the Soviets to be used by British intelligence. It seems like a clear response to Suez, especially given the timing of Eden’s visit. This novel is just one example of how Fleming, an aristocrat of the pre-war order, responds to Britain’s loss of prestige in the Cold War era. Through analysis of character, setting, and villain portrayal, this paper will show that Fleming’s James Bond is indeed a significant literary effort to allow Britain to cope with its reduced role in the post-imperial Cold War.

Ian Fleming crafts James Bond into a distinctly and exemplary British character, beginning with his name. The word bond suggests that the spy was bonded to or connected with something. His identification number, 007, was how...

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