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« Charles Williams | Main | Comped »

November 21, 2006

Bond Figures

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Is the Bond franchise the most financially successful one in fiction history? The Times of London estimates that Bond, James Bond has generated $10 billion in revenue.

Question for the day: How many contemporary-fiction classes spend any time at all on Ian Fleming? Wouldn't you think a publishing phenomenon on this scale would merit a few moments of attention?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at November 21, 2006




Comments

Back in the 1960s, Kingsley Amis wrote a Bond fan-book, but even he published it under a pseudonym. And this was someone who had plenty of time for mysteries (he was a big Dick Francis fan), science fiction, and anything else that was well-crafted entertainment. So I don't expect to see much in the way of James Bond scholarship at the MLA meeting any time soon, no.

Posted by: Derek Lowe on November 21, 2006 1:55 PM



I wrote a paper on P.G Wodehouse in college that was politely ignored. As you so rightly imply, literary populism is frowned upon in the lofty towers of higher learning ... unless, of course, it's complete and utter banal pop culture trash.

Posted by: stephenesque on November 21, 2006 2:26 PM



Naaah, Fleming's books contain a successful hero.

Posted by: Bob on November 21, 2006 3:30 PM



Ayn Rand's mob consider Bond one of the highpoints of world literature, just a smidgen below Mike Hammer.

Posted by: Brian on November 21, 2006 9:31 PM



Offhand, I think that Sherlock Homes is by far the more successfull character franchise. Because Fleming's novels are not in the public domain and therefore so tightly controlled, the only films and non-Fleming novels are authorized.

Holmes, however, continues to generate endless movles, films, TV shows and what not.

There is certainly a strong strain of snobbishness about popular fiction in academia and in publishing. Nevertheless, market forces have made universities pander to their students' cultural interests. Just as thre are courses in "media studies" about Madonna, surely there must be courses where Flemings books are on the syllabus.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on November 22, 2006 12:24 PM



Fleming, bah. Dame Agatha Christie has my vote to be in the classrooms. There's a complex (and in ways ironic) ethical argument sketched across a dozen books.

Posted by: J. Goard on November 22, 2006 4:39 PM



10 billion? wow. Harry Potter may some day eclipse that with all the movie/toy/game tie-ins, but Rowling's writing is not worth examining in a classroom. For all the hype, I was expecting much better.

Posted by: claire on November 22, 2006 6:58 PM



Did you see the latest Bond film? I thought it was truly fantastic. Daniel Craig is the greatest Bond next to Sean Connery; he's both fire and ice. The film itself was well developed, most likely because it followed the book very closely. The only differences between book and film are the action scenes, which in the movie are viscerally exciting.

Posted by: David Brown on November 22, 2006 11:01 PM



An interesting inter-Randroid discussion about whether Craig makes a good Bond is here.

Posted by: Brian on November 23, 2006 1:41 PM






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