Ian Fleming and James Bond
Ian Fleming was born into a wealthy English family and went to Eton, Britain’s most famous school. From there he went to the Royal Military Academy, where he was unhappy, and then to the Universities of Munich and Geneva to study languages. After that he worked as a journalist in a number of places, including Moscow. Perhaps it was there that he became interested in espionage?
During the Second World War Fleming served as an intelligence officer and learned about weapons, unarmed combat, secret codes, disguises and other matters which agents have to know about. But although he badly wanted to be an agent himself, he spent most of the war behind a desk.
In 1953 he started to live a secret agent’s life through his hero James Bond, who appeared in that year in the novel Casino Royale. Bond – or 007 – later became the main character in 13 other books. Several of these have been made into very successful films.
Like James Bond, Ian Fleming liked tobacco and alcohol, and he smoked and drank even more heavily than his hero did. The result was a heart attack which he suffered in 1961 and which led to his death three years later. He was only 56 years old.
Choose the correct words in each of the following:
1. Fleming’s family was
2. He went to a military academy, which he
3. He went to Munich and Geneva to
- learn languages
- teach languages
4. He spent most of the Second World War
- in an office
- behind enemy lines
- as a prisoner
5. In 1953 he
- wrote 13 books
- wrote the first Bond book
- went to Moscow
6. He smoked and drank
- far too much
- as much as Bond did
Activities for the links below
1) Go to the first website below. You will find all the Bond novels mentioned there, with some key facts relating to each of them. Use these facts to identify which Bond book is referred to in the following:
a) The action takes place at several locations in Africa, America and Europe.
b) The villain’s targets are American rockets.
c) In this novel, gambling is at the centre of the action.
d) Bond’s friend is an important official in the West Indies.
e) The villain uses narcotics as weapons.
f) The villain intends to poison enormous numbers of animals in the UK.
g) Treasure from the Nazi era in Germany is important.
2) The Wikipedia web page contains a long article on James Bond. In the section headed “Creation and inspiration” you will find a paragraph in which Fleming and Bond are compared. Write nine or ten sentences of your own in which you outline the similarities between the author, Ian Fleming, and his hero James Bond. Here are some suggestions for how you might want to start:
- Both Fleming and Bond . . .
- Like Bond, Fleming . . .
- Bond and Fleming have the same . . .
- Bond and Fleming are both . . .
- As young men, they . . .