For Your Eyes Only
The secret life of James Bond.
"If all that was left of you was your smile and your little finger, you'd be more of a man than anyone else I know."
—from Casino Royale
By the publication of Fleming's second novel, Live and Let Die, Bond had been relieved of these inner pangs. Women were once again fabulous babes, and espionage was a straightforward battle of good versus evil. Whether on the page or screen, the Bond we have come to know over the last five decades is neither particularly sensitive nor open to psychological probing. As M tells 007 in the new film, "I would ask you if you could remain emotionally detached, but that's not your problem, is it, Bond?"
Bryan Curtis, Slate's "Middlebrow" columnist, writes for Grantland, Texas Monthly, and Newsweek. Follow him on Twitter.
Illustration by Rob Donnelly.