The World of James Bond

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Thirty-nine novels, twenty-four films, and many lead actors later, James Bond has remained an iconic figure in pop culture since his conception in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming. Drawing from his own experience as a former naval intelligence officer, Fleming first presented the world of James Bond with the novel Casino Royale. After the books successful British launch, it was retitled You Asked for it, in the United States, and was not much of a hit until President John F. Kennedy mentioned From Russia with Love on his list of favorite books.

From then on, the James Bond novels were a success, and in 1962 the first Bond movie was created- Dr. No, with Sean Connery playing Bond. Fleming continued to write Bond novels until his death in 1964, and Bond movies continued to be produced up until 2015, the last Bond movie being Spectre, starring Daniel Craig. The widespread James Bond story was well on its way to becoming a franchise in the 60s, but didn’t truly become one until multiple continuation novels were published after Fleming’s death. Many writers picked up the world of James Bond and continued his story further, these writers include Kingsley Amis and John Gardner. The continuation of the Bond storyline paired with the continuation of Bond movies being produced is what really solidified James Bond as a franchise. It proved that the world of James Bond was not confined to one author or one actor, but rather a more universal storyline that could be transposed into many different interpretations and portrayals across decades.

The James Bond franchise has become so iconic and recognizable that it has even extended beyond media and into merchandise. One can buy props that reference a plotline in the movie/book such as a ‘golden gun’ or the ‘dove stick pin’, as well as countless clothing items- T-shirts, hats, even onesies for babies. Bond-themed prints, posters, mugs, pens, stationary, luggage and many many more are also readily available for purchase. Needless to say, the James Bond storyline has a strong hyperdiegesis. Fleming may have been the one to originally create the fictitious world but because of how vividly he depicted the world of James Bond, outside readers felt as though they were able to take what Fleming had written and expand upon it in a way that still holds true to the series.

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