The Man With The Golden Gun typescript corrected by Ian Fleming now available to buy

A unique typescript of The Man With The Golden Gun corrected by Ian Fleming is available from Jonkers Rare Books.

The Man With The Golden Gun typescript

The Man With the Golden Gun: Author’s Corrected Typescript

According to the listing on Jonkers’ website:

182 numbered pages of typed foolscap, five further preliminary pages and a single sheet of suggested (later adopted) corrections by Kingsley Amis, all bound in a cloth folder. Authorial revisions in Fleming’s hand to approximately 80 pages with further editorial revisions in green and black ink. Fleming’s corrections are mainly quite significant, rewriting entire sentences, adding or removing paragraphs etc.

The listing goes on to say:

Fleming wrote The Man with the Golden Gun at his Jamaican retreat, Goldeneye, in the early months of 1964, as was his custom. Fleming’s original text was completed by April and, as had become routine in the preparation of his books, he had ‘clean’ copies typed up for editing. The text was sent in stages, and on 24 July, three typescripts extending to 182 pages, with initial sub editor corrections, were returned. The following day, Fleming’s secretary wrote to the typist, “I’ve sent one typescript to Mr. Fleming and will do a list of your corrections for him.” This is that typescript.

Fleming made some (presumably light) revisions and sent the typescript to his friend and Cape reader, William Plomer, with the instructions that it was “unrevised” and not to show it to anyone else other than Michael Howard, director of Cape. Plomer wrote to Howard that he “much enjoyed the book as it is” but Fleming was unsatisfied with the novel as it stood and asked for the typescript to be returned to him, stating that he “would personally like to take it back to Jamaica and paint the lily next year”. It would appear that Fleming began this process immediately as much of the more substantial alterations have the effect of tightening the prose. He revises some key moments, such as the description of Scaramanga’s “golden gun” (p.26), but the most telling change is the addition of a paragraph to the very end of the novel, which gives a vivid insight into Fleming’s troubled state of mind in his final weeks:

“At the same time, he knew, deep down, that love from Mary Goodnight, or from any other woman, was not enough for him. It would be like taking ‘a room with a view’. For James Bond, the same view would always pall.”

The visit to Jamaica was never to happen. Fleming’s health, which had been poor for some time, went into rapid decline and he died on 12 August. This typescript therefore almost certainly contains Fleming’s last ever work on James Bond. In Fleming’s absence, Kingsley Amis, fellow Cape author and keen student of the Bond oeuvre, was brought in to tidy up the editing process, and this typescript, including Fleming’s final changes, as well as Amis’s suggestions, was then sent to the printer for publication.

Anyone interested in this typescript will need deep pockets. Jonkers is listing it for sale at £150,000. Click the link below for details.

Source: Jonkers Rare Books

There has been much speculation in the past about how much input Kingsley Amis might have had in the final novel. Some people have suggested that he extensively reworked The Man With The Golden Gun. Others suggested his suggestions were not used.

The existence of this typescript and Amis’s corrections proves beyond any doubt that Amis’s suggestions were used but that they were not at all significant.

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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