Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Cold War cloak and dagger...

"...As the birthplace of Bond, Casino Royale can provide us with the definitive answers to some burning questions that have trouble mankind for many years. Specifically: he does introduce himself as "Bond - James, Bond"; the car is not an Aston Martin or a BMW - it's a Bentley; and the drink is not a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) - it is: three measures of Gordon's Gin, one of vodka, and half a measure of Kina Lillet (vermouth). Shake very well until it's ice-cold, serve in a deep champagne goblet, and garnish with a large thin slice of lemon-peel.

But what can we say of the novel Casino Royale once we divorce it of fifty years of cultural baggage?

The first thing that strikes you is the vast difference in the mores and manners expressed in the book compared to contemporary society. That is not to suggest that Casino Royale is intended to be a realistic portrayal of the times, but the idealized milieu of the 1950s is quite different from what its contemporary counterpart would be. Dress is overly formal. Everyone smokes - all the time, everywhere. They drink pretty much constantly, too; a behavior now generally confined to college campuses..."

Note: An inscribed first edition of Ian Fleming's 1953 James Bond novel, Casino Royale, sold for £21,000 ($40,454 USD) as part of Bloomsbury Auctions Continental and English Literature and Modern First Editions sale held on February 24, 2005. The final sale was transacted after the auction had ended.