The coming weeks are going to be big for Bond. Skyfall is up for five Academy Awards this Sunday, making it the first Bond film to contend for an Oscar since For Your Eyes Only in 1982. A Bond 50th-anniversary tribute will also air during the Oscars (although, regrettably, all the Bonds from Connery to Craig won't be lining up alongside each other).
Even if Skyfall comes home empty-handed, things are still looking up for the estate of Ian Fleming, creator of the Bond series. A collection of his books, manuscripts, and correspondence is
going up for auction available in a sale that could bring in as much as $1.5 million. [Correction: The Fleming items are for sale en bloc, not up for auction as I wrote initially.] Were I as good as Bond at craps, here are a few of the items from the Glenn Horowitz Bookseller sale I'd be especially excited to get:
The ornithological field guide from which the name James Bond originated. The auction catalogue explains, "When Fleming began Casino Royale, the first of the Bond novels, he appropriated his hero’s name from the title page of Field Guide of Birds of the West Indies (1947) by one James Bond. He later explained, 'I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest sounding name I could find. James Bond seemed perfect.'”
Manuscript lyrics to the theme song for “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service," inscribed by Louis Armstrong to his manager, Joe Glaser: "To Joe from Satch."
I also like a lot of the first-edition dust jacket illustrations, which are altogether more grim than you'd expect from such a jaunty franchise.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.