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''The Texan with whom he had shared so many adventures'': Reassessing the Role of Felix Leiter in Fleming’s Bond Novels

Author:

N.F. Hartvelt

NL
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Abstract

This article focuses on the character of Felix Leiter in the James Bond novels Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and The Man with the Golden Gun. I examine how these novels establish Leiter as a character in his own right, and in a friendship with James Bond. Many key publications read Leiter predominantly, or only, as an American pawn who is inferior to the British Bond, through which the novels articulate a pro-British sentiment. This happens at a post-Second World War, Cold War historical moment in the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, in which the former was dominant. This article establishes that Leiter is characterised, and then reads Leiter as an important friend of Bond’s, rather than simply or only a political pawn to represent the United States in the post-war Special Relationship. I argue that the political statement the novels make is driven by friendship, and allows for a partially positive reading of the Special Relationship in the novels, rather than one in which the UK emerges as inherently superior. In doing so, this article disproves the standard narrative about the role of Leiter, and the Special Relationship, in the Fleming novels.

How to Cite: Hartvelt, N. F. (2022). ''The Texan with whom he had shared so many adventures'': Reassessing the Role of Felix Leiter in Fleming’s Bond Novels. International Journal of James Bond Studies, 5(1). DOI: http://doi.org/10.24877/jbs.79
Published on 01 May 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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