‘I must confess,’ Fleming once said of Bond, ‘I quite often get terribly excited myself at his adventures. There are times when I can hardly wait to turn the next page.’1 In this sense, perhaps, Fleming was his own ideal reader, the reader who would want, as he put it, to ‘turn the page’, to find out what happens next.2 Although in itself no more than a happy coincidence, this symmetry between Fleming’s account of his experience of the process of writing and his description of the urge towards narrative completion he aimed to produce in the reader suggests a further respect in which Eco’s approach to the Bond novels needs to be qualified. For Eco, as we have seen, the pleasures of the ‘average reader’ are accounted for solely in terms of the operation of the novels’ plot mechanics. This is to suppose that the reader has access to such plot mechanics independently of the specific formal or ‘ways-oftelling’ devices which condition the mode of their narrative realisation. This is clearly not the case. Whilst plot and narrative mechanisms are logically separable for the purpose of analysis, the reader encounters the plot only in the form of a ‘plot-in-the-text’, indissociable from the forms of its narrative organisation.
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Notes and References
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- 3.S. Neale, Genre, BFI, London, 1980, p. 20.Google Scholar
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- 8.D. Cannadine, ‘James Bond and the Decline of England’, Encounter, 53 (3), 1979, p. 48.Google Scholar
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- 11.J. Cawelti, Adventure, Mystery and Romance, University of Chicago Press, 1976, p. 40.Google Scholar
- 15.T. Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction, Blackwell, Oxford, 1983, p. 179.Google Scholar
- 16.This is especially true of D. Ormerod and D. Ward, ‘The Bond Game’, The London Magazine May 1965, which we draw on substantially in what follows.Google Scholar
- 17.R. Trahair, ‘A Contribution to the Psychoanalytical Study of the Modern Hero: The Case of James Bond’, La Trobe Sociology Papers, La Trobe University, 1976.Google Scholar
- 20.J. Lacan, The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis, Delta Publishing Co., New York, 1968, p. 271.Google Scholar