“Love of life is born of the awareness of death, of the dread of it": First Edition of The Spy Who Loved Me; Inscribed by Ian Fleming
The Spy Who Loved Me.
Item Number: 37032
London: Jonathan Cape, 1962.
First edition of the ninth novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. Octavo, original black cloth. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Peter To Cheer him up! From Ian.” Fine in a fine dust jacket. Jacket art by Richard Chopping. Housed in a full morocco clamshell box, the front panel mimicking the dust jacket. Rare and desirable signed and inscribed by Ian Fleming.
In light of the novel's immense presence as a classic thriller, it's amusing to learn that it was at first poorly received. The novel was banned in several countries due to its heightened sexual writing. The reception was so bad that Fleming wrote to Michael Howard of the Jonathan Cape publishing company to explain why he wrote the book: "I had become increasingly surprised to find my thrillers, which were designed for an adult audience, being read in schools, and that young people were making a hero out of James Bond ... So it crossed my mind to write a cautionary tale about Bond, to put the record straight in the minds particularly of younger readers ... the experiment has obviously gone very much awry" (Chancellor 2005). Upon Fleming's request, no reprints were made until after his death in 1964. It was the basis for the tenth film in the James Bond series, starring Roger Moore, Barbara Bach and Curt Jürgens. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert and the screenplay was written by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum.