Excitement from England

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Author: Robert Hatch
Editors: Jean C. Stine and Daniel G. Marowski
Date: 1984
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 783 words

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Fleming's tradition is sub-literary. Since 1954 he has written novels at the rate of one-and-a-half a year; you can read them without undue strain at the rate of one-and-a-half a night. His field is the secret service thriller—a well-recognized, well-paid, almost routine English trade. Why then should his books have sold more than a million copies, why should the responsible English critics be in a state of outrage; why, for example, should Paul Johnson devote a leading article in The New Statesman [see excerpt above] to an attack of boisterous passion against this entertainer? ...

[Americans] are not going to be so taken by surprise. We have had Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler and one gets hardened to such things. Though it must be admitted that Mr. Fleming is a concentrated example of published nastiness. His stock in trade contains, first, the snobbish accoutrements that one expects in diplomatic thrillers. His hero, James Bond, eats, smokes, drinks, drives and sleeps with only the fanciest products of our civilization. He is, in a word a god-awful false gentleman, but so are most British slouths.

But they are not usually pathological killers and sexual oddities. Bond enjoys...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420002871