Bond à Eton

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Tiger Tanaka
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Bond à Eton

Message par Tiger Tanaka » 15 mars 2013, 22:49

Bien que le caractère officiel du livre de Pearson soit discuté, il faut bien avouer que ce livre de commande éclaire pas mal d'épisodes de la vie de Bond, peu développés dans l'oeuvre de Fleming. A ce propos, je ne résiste pas à l'envie de reproduire des passages de la fin du 2ème chapitre, relatant la période d'Eton, qui résume à elle seule ce que sera le Bond adulte ...

Like Hobbes of Malmesbury's description of life in the state of nature, James Bond's career at Eton might be summed up as ‘nasty, brutish and short’. Certainly it is not a period of life on which he looks back with pride or much regret, and it was evident from the day he went there that this was not the school for him. Despite all this, the strange thing is that Eton put its trademark on him. Indeed, in some ways, he seems a very typical Etonian.

From the beginning he found himself a rebel. It was a mistake to put him in his brother's house. Henry was predictably successful and had adapted well to school society; James was once more in his elder brother's shadow. As a result, he soon reacted against everything his brother seemed to represent. He refused to work. He saw the cliques of older boys as snobbery, the school traditions as tedious charade. He kicked against the fagging system and objected to the uniform. His contemporaries who wrote that he was ‘moody and self-contained’ seem to have had a point. He says now that once again he felt himself a complete outsider in this closed, upper-class society, and that for most of his time at Eton he was very lonely.

James Bond is probably exaggerating. It is hard to see him being victimized by anyone. At fourteen he was enormous for his age – already nearly six feet tall, good-looking and distinctly self-possessed. Older boys appear to have treated him with caution. Before long he enjoyed a certain status and he had a few, carefully picked friends, all of them outside his house. They were all members of what he called ‘the unregenerate element’ in the school, and most of them had a reputation, like James, for being ‘flash’.

Bond's favourite crony was a boy called Brinton, nicknamed ‘Burglar’. He was a year older, embarrassingly handsome, with the cool, mondaine sophistication of the cosmopolitan rich. He and James got on together. During the holidays, James visited his house in Shropshire, and later was invited to his father's place in Paris. Here, with his looks and his command of French, Bond impressed Burglar's father. It was this rich old rake who discovered the boy's natural talent for cards and love of gambling. He backed the two boys when they played bridge for money with his rich Parisian friends. The canasta craze was starting – James Bond cleaned up at that.

Burglar père introduced Bond to his earliest Morlands Specials, and also gave him his first taste of the life of the very rich – something which, in his way, James Bond has been seeking and rejecting ever since. He liked the Brintons' sense of style – the luxurious flat, the drinks, the dress, the servants, and the cars – particularly he liked the cars. Burglar's father was not only rich, he was indulgent, to a fault. As a final treat he lent the boys his big café-au-lait Hispano Suiza and a chauffeur, sending them down to Monte Carlo for a week's holiday in style. In theory the chauffeur drove; in fact the two boys took turns behind the wheel and Bond got his first experience of what has remained an unabated pleasure – driving a powerful fast car across the Continent. He also had his first glimpse of a casino. Burglar's father joined them in Monte Carlo. James Bond won 500 francs at roulette.

After all this, Eton seemed doubly boring. In his second year, James Bond did less work than in his first. He also started to antagonize his house master who saw him as a pernicious influence. Soon it was clear that Bond's days at Eton were becoming numbered. Despite this, he is still irritated by what he considers the poor taste of Ian Fleming's so-called joke about the reason why he was finally asked to leave, the coy reference to ‘some alleged trouble with one of the boys' maids'. Bond says that Fleming knew quite well that the girl was not a housemaid, but Burglar's illegitimate half-sister, a very beautiful half-French girl of seventeen he was in love with. She had been staying with her father at the Dorchester. James Bond, aged fifteen, borrowed £5 and a motor cycle from Burglar, rode up to London, and took the girl out to dinner before riding back to college. It was his brother Henry who reported him. It was exactly the incident the house master had been waiting for.


James Bond: the Authorised Biography by John Pearson


Le goût des voyages, du luxe, du jeu, des voitures, de l'alcool et des filles, la trahison du frère ... Tout ça à l'âge de 14-15 ans. Comme un avant-goût des aventures à venir du futur agent secret.
Memento audere semper

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Re: Bond à Eton

Message par Ytterbium » 16 mars 2013, 11:53

Et étrangement semblable avec l'expérience de Fleming : il a été envoyé en même temps que son grand frère à l'école. Lui aussi a vécu dans l'ombre de son frère qui était le plus brillant (mais avec une santé fragile). Du coup, sans se mettre contre le système, Fleming vivait singulièrement à la marge, se retranchant dans le sport, et quittant ses études de façon abrupte, après une histoire d'amour qui avait mal tournée, et envenimée par sa mère, et des voyages à l'étranger qui lui plaisaient plus que la routine d'Eton.

Merci pour ce passage en tout cas !

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Re: Bond à Eton

Message par Cesari » 14 oct. 2013, 10:19

Ce livre est très intéressant et plutôt méconnu. Cependant Charlie Higson dans ses aventures racontant La jeunesse de James Bond n'a pas du tout tenu compte des récits de John Pearson et s'en est tenu au canon fleminguien.

Par contre, ce livre ayant été commandité et publié sous licence Glidrose Publications, je ne vois pas pourquoi le caractère officiel en serait discuté.
"Whisper of love, whisper of hate"

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