Ian Fleming's Creation

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Commander James Bond, CMG, RNVR is an agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). He was created in February 1952 by Ian Fleming whileon vacation at his Jamaican estate called Goldeneye. The hero of Fleming's tale, James Bond, was named after an American ornithologist of the same name who was an expert on Caribean birds and had written a definitive book on the subject: Birds of the West Indies. Fleming, a keen birdwatcher, owned a copy of Bond's field guide at Goldeneye. Of the name, Fleming once said,


"I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, James Bond was much better than something more interesting like 'Peregrine Maltravers.' Exotic things would happen to and around him but he would be a neutral figure — an anonymous blunt instrument wielded by a Government Department."


After completing the manuscript for what would later be titled Casino Royale, Fleming allowed his friend William Plomer, a poet and later Fleming's editor, to read it. Plomer liked it enough that he gave the manuscript to Jonathan Cape, who did not like it as much, but published it anyway in 1953 due to the fact that Ian was the younger brother of Peter Fleming, an established travel writer who also put in a good word for Ian. Since the fictional James Bond's creation, hundreds of reports by various news outlets have suggested names for Ian Fleming's inspiration of Bond. Usually these people have a background of some kind in espionage or other covert operations. Although some names share similarities with Bond, none have ever been confirmed by Fleming, Ian Fleming Publications or any of Ian Fleming's biographers such as Fleming's assistant and friend, John Pearson.

Fleming sketch of Bond
Fleming-commissioned sketch of 007
Most researchers agree that James Bond is a highly romanticised version of Fleming himself; the author was known for his jetsetting lifestyle and reputation as a womaniser. Both, for the most part, went to the same schools, liked the same foods (e.g., scrambled eggs), had the same habits (e.g., drinking and smoking), share the same view on women (e.g., how they should look and how they should dress), and have similar education and military careers both rising to the rank of Commander.

Although the character of Bond is not known to be based on anyone but Fleming himself, the look of James Bond, famed for being "suave and sophisticated", is based on a young Hoagy Carmichael. In Casino Royale the character Vesper Lynd says of Bond, "He reminds me rather of Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless." Other characteristics of Bond's look are said to be based on Fleming, such as his height, his hairstyle and his eye colour. Fleming has, however, admitted to being inspired by true or partially-true events that took place during his career at the Naval Intelligence Division of the Admiralty. Most notably, and the basis for Casino Royale, was a trip to Lisbon that Fleming and the Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Godfrey, took during World War II en route to the United States. While there they went to the Estoril Casinowhich, due to the neutral status of Portugal had a number of spies of warring regimes present. Fleming claimed that while there he was cleaned out by a "chief German agent" at a table playing Chemin de Fer; however, Admiral Godfrey tells a different story, that Fleming only played Portuguese businessmen and that afterwards Ian had fantasised about them being German agents and the excitement of cleaning them out. Fleming also gave 007 many charactersitcs that are similar to his own like 007 prefering coffee over tea and windsor knots (ties) .