March 27, 2014

IAN FLEMING LETTERS MYSTERY

A collection of letters have been released that offer a rare glimpse into Ian Fleming in his twenties. The Daily Mail has reported correspondences from the 1930s between the James Bond author and his Austrian lover, Edith Morpurgo, will be auctioned off by Peter Harrigton at next week's New York antiquarian book fair. The collection includes sweet exclamations like, "I'd like to sleep with you just once and do nothing to you, just wrap my arms around you and hold you tight and find you there when I wake up." But they also also reveal early examples of Fleming's tendencies toward dominance and submission in the bedroom: "‘If I were to say 'love' you would only argue, and then I would have to whip you and you would cry and I don't want that. I only want for you to be happy. But I would also like to hurt you because you have earned it and in order to tame you like a little wild animal. So be careful, you." I can't help but hear Sean Connery's voice delivering that line.


The collection is estimated to fetch upwards of 47,500 pounds, and also includes some illustrations with steamy captions by Fleming and a photograph. And here is where the mystery begins! The photo below of young Fleming is inscribed "The father of James Bond 007, a friend in 1934 in Austrian." But who did Fleming send this to? His lover, Edith Morpurgo sadly died in 1942 with her husband and daughter during the Holocaust- ten years before Fleming wrote his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. I don't doubt the authenticity of the letters, but perhaps the press release has omitted this detail by mistake. Was the inscription written by Fleming to a member of her family? Did one of her relatives add the text later? I shall inquire! In the meantime, I do wish that all of Fleming's correspondences would be published as a collection. The existing volumes of letters by Noel Coward and Fleming's wife Ann Charteris are quite fascinating and useful to Fleming scholars. Want to learn more about young Ian Fleming? Check out my posts covering his favorite music- and his days playing Hawaiian guitar! Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr.


Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Appropriating BondDouble 007 Book Designs,  Double 007 designs IIrare Ian Fleming editionBook Design Dopplegangers, Turkish Bond design, Ian Fleming LettersErno GoldfingerNoel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive.

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1 comment:

  1. I did inquire about the timing of the inscribed photo, but unfortunately it remains a mystery. This is what I heard back from Peter Harrington: "Thank you for your enquiry. We do not have any further information on the photograph, I am afraid.
    The annotation was clearly done at a later date, though we do not know exactly when." The inscription is apparently authentic, though much later after the war, and we don't know how it became part of the collection of 1930s letters.

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