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Reading: A Fish Out of Water: Crises of Masculinity and Environmentality in ''The Hildebrand Rarity''

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A Fish Out of Water: Crises of Masculinity and Environmentality in ''The Hildebrand Rarity''

Author:

Matthew Griffiths

GB
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Abstract

Critical examination of Ian Fleming’s James Bond fiction has so far concentrated on its Cold War political context, and little has been written about the author’s engagement with the natural environment. However, his 1960 short story "The Hildebrand Rarity" is a valuable, early illustration of writing ecological crisis at the moment environmentalism is coming into being in its modern form. By reading the story ecocritically, this article will identify the resources that genre fiction offers for representing such crises, as well as the problems it raises. Comparison with Rachel Carson’s 1962 nonfiction work Silent Spring will help elucidate the techniques that environmental writing exploits to achieve global resonance. The article reads the story in terms of incident, gender relations, international relations, and the ecosystem in order to explain the peculiarity of James Bond’s lack of agency in this narrative, which is shown to evidence a twinned anxiety about the environment and the impotence of British masculinity in the Cold War era. In failing to resolve the problem of Bond’s inaction, Fleming’s text inadvertently dramatises the helplessness of the contemporary reader to engage meaningfully with environmental crisis.

How to Cite: Griffiths, M. (2019). A Fish Out of Water: Crises of Masculinity and Environmentality in ''The Hildebrand Rarity''. International Journal of James Bond Studies, 2(1). DOI: http://doi.org/10.24877/jbs.42
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Published on 01 May 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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