Quantum of Solace – what does it mean?

There have been a number of comments in the media regarding the title for the next James Bond film, and not understanding its meaning. However, it seems to be rather lazy journalism because the answer can be found in a collection of James Bond short stories.

Quantum of Solace is the title of a story published in For Your Eyes Only in which James Bond plays a very small part. Bond is attending a dinner party hosted by the Governor for The Bahamas at the end of a week in Nassau before leaving for Miami, in which he feels completely out of place. Once the other guests have left, Bond and the Governor and make small talk to pass the hour or so before Bond feels he can also depart. When he makes a remark about wanting to marry an air hostess, the Governor proceeds to tell a story that he says Bond may find interesting.

The Governor’s story is about a man who meets and marries an air hostess after meeting her on a flight. However, after a posting to Bermuda their marriage began to unravel and when he finally leaves his wife, he makes sure he does everything possible to destroy her life. The story ends with the Governor telling Bond that a relationship “can survive anything so long as some kind of basic humanity exists between the two people” and that all kinds of obstacles can be overcome in a relationship, but not “the death of common humanity in one of the partners”.

He rather pretentiously calls this the “Quantum of Solace” – or as Bond explains it – “the amount of comfort… When the other person not only makes you feel insecure but actually seems to want to destroy you, it’s obviously the end. The Quantum of Solace stands at zero.”

The Governor then reveals that the wife had been one of the dinner party guests.

Quantum of Solace was first published in 1960 and seems to be a comment on the state of Ian Fleming’s marriage at the time, although according to Andrew Lycett’s excellent biography of Fleming, it was based on a true story he’d heard in Jamaica.

Since the film will be picking up an hour after Casino Royale ends, in which the love of 007’s life is not only dead but revealed to be a traitor, make your own conclusions as to what the title means.

David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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3 Responses to “Quantum of Solace – what does it mean?”

  • Ap

    Maybe this thread should be called “Your Quantum Theories”!!

  • Doc Sibyllin

    I think it’s the best title they could come-up with. In the state of things in the world we are all looking for, at least a quantum of solace

  • Santoshi kumari

    Hey yall, well it looks like its going to be one heck of a film! This is one like never before and undermines other concepts in the notorious bond franchise. Ah yes M will be returning as judi dench and james bond will be returning as daniel craig and sean connery is set to play james bond snr in the this delightful tail of sex, deciet and violence aka an evil realm we are obliviouis to yet we call it society meets priority! Ah yes the jumping jackpots of narnia will recite the words the names bond, 007 james bond. So what the fuss daniel craig is qouted as saying a rhino is yet to become a butterfly of freedom which i feel as a member of the commonwealth, is relevant to the patriach!

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