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36251

Ian Fleming. Moonraker. London: Jonathan Cape, [1955]. First edition, first printing. Signed and inscribed by Flem...

2013 April 10 Rare Books Signature Auction - New York #6094

 
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Auction Ended On: Apr 10, 2013
Item Activity: 2 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Ukrainian Institute of America at The Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion
2 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075

Description:
First Edition of Moonraker, Beautifully Inscribed by Fleming in German to the Psychiatrist Instrumental in Helping Him Define the Book's Villain
Ian Fleming. Moonraker. London: Jonathan Cape, [1955]. First edition, first printing. Signed and inscribed by Fleming on the front free endpaper in the year of publication, "To E. B. Strauss / This "Tagebuch eines / halbwüchsigen spiones"! / Ian Fleming / 1955." [Translation: This diary of an adolescent spy!]. Octavo. 255 pages. Publisher's black cloth with titles stamped in silver. Original illustrated dust jacket. Modest bumping to upper corners of boards and with a slight lean to spine. Faint spotting along top page edges. Pages are clean with a hint of toning to the edges. Jacket shows edge toning and light rubbing. Spine darkened and with a bit of wear and some one-quarter-inch tears to head. Some toning and offsetting to verso. A clean, very attractive copy with a beautiful inscription in overall near fine condition. Housed is a custom black half-leather box.

Moonraker, Fleming's third James Bond novel, stands out as his most intimate and autobiographical, borrowing many elements from his own personal life: his daily routine at home, love for London clubs, familiarity with gambling, and wartime operations carried out by T-Force, a secret British army unit that Fleming worked with as part of its target selection committee. Fleming's attention to detail is evident, going as far as to have his step-son measure the drive from London to Deal, in his need for accuracy when writing the book. This volume is notable also as the only Bond novel - typically known for their international and exotic settings - set entirely in Britain. Drawing from many uncertain elements of the time, the author taps into a number of fears, including a resurgence of Nazism, Soviet communism, and the 'threat from within.' Fleming wraps all these concerns around the central villain of Moonraker, Sir Hugo Drax: a supposed benefactor to the British government who has a vague identity and war record, unknown ties to a Nazi past, and receives secret aid from the Soviet Union.

To assist with his development of Hugo Drax, Fleming met with the noted and highly honored psychiatrist, Dr. Eric Benjamin Strauss, to whom this copy is inscribed. During this meeting, they discussed matters relating to megalomania - a quality important to any Bond villain - but Fleming also came away learning about diastema, a condition of the front teeth that he gave to the Drax character. As has been said many times before, any great hero is only as good as their villain, and Fleming knew the importance of adding nuances and affectations such as these to enhance and round-out a character that needed to stand up against the unending talents and charisma of 007. Fleming's meeting with Strauss provided information and flourishes that helped make Drax a truly multi-faceted adversary for Bond. The copy of Moonraker offered here is positively unique, in that it offers the opportunity to own a book given in gratitude from James Bond's creator to the man who was instrumental in helping him create one of his most memorable villains. Two sides of the creative coin - good and evil, science and imagination - together on one page.

British Medical Journal. January 21, 1961. Zeiger, The Spy Who Came in with the Gold. Lycett, Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond.

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