Dossier for M

Filed under: Kingsley Amis on May 30, 2007 at 8:00 am

One month after the publication of The Man with the Golden Gun in 1965, Kingsley Amis published the second book that critically analyzes Ian Fleming’s James Bond works, The James Bond Dossier. It followed O.F. Snelling’s book 007 James Bond: A Report, which was published the year before. Although Ian Fleming had died in 1964, he had actually approved of this book. Amis later went on to write a second non-fiction book in 1965 on the world of James Bond, The Book of Bond or, Every Man His Own 007 under the pseudonym Lt.-Col. William (“Bill”) Tanner and in 1968 the first continuation James Bond novel, Colonel Sun, under the pseudonym Robert Markham.

I decided, for whatever reason, to do a kind of in depth look at The James Bond Dossier. For quite awhile I had problems obtaining a good copy for myself. Good copies are rather hard to find, and whenever I do find it it’s always going for a hefty price, or at least for a price higher than I’m willing to pay given the huge amount of non-fiction books in the same vein that are also available. But this is Kingsley Amis and primary reading material for all literary James Bond fans so it was inevitable that I would someday get my hands on it.

So anyway, this is my semi-uncritical analysis of Kingsley Amis’ critical analysis of Ian Fleming. If only forty-two years in the future someone decided to publish a critical analysis of my semi-uncritical analysis of Kingsley Amis’ critical analysis of Ian Fleming. That guy would be an idiot.

The James Bond Dossier

I should note that I plucked this out without much review time. So if you see any mistakes, just let me know. Comments are open and my email is available by filling out the form on the contact page.


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Comments Are Now Closed.

Comment by Single-O-Seven

Made Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 9:40 pm

I found this book on the dusty shelf of a used bookstore on Queen Street in Toronto about a year ago. Costly, yes. Worth the price, most definitely. I’m a huge Fleming fan, and have devoured his novels time and again, and Amis’s Dossier is a wonderful companion, tribute, and critique of the novels. In fact, any authors wishing to write a Fleming-era or Fleming-style Bond novel need to read this to see just what Fleming’s era and style were made of. The Book of Bond is also a great companion.

Comment by David Schofield

Made Friday, June 1, 2007 at 5:05 am

I think one of the most unique takes on Bond by Amis here is his presentation as Bond as a flawed, tragic romantic hero in the mold of Byron’s Childe Harold, and further evident in Heathcliffe and Mr Rochester. Amis advocates that Bond is basically a lone solitary, basically moody and surviving on his drug of alcohol, who completes the progession to the true romantic hero status of those above by losing his wife.

Taking this view of Bond, it is quite clear to see why Amis was so anti Connery’s rugged, indestructable, unfeeling portrayal, and that the truest cinematic versions of Bond that Amis might have appreciated would have been Lazenby, Dalton and Craig.