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Arts & Culture

Bond. James Bond.

November 26, 2012 | by

James Bond was a well-known ornithologist. His Birds of the West Indies is an unusually rich source of names. According to Bond, the Sooty Tern is also known as the Egg Bird; Booby; Bubí; Hurricane Bird; Gaviota Oscura; Gaviota Monja; Oiseau Fou; Touaou. But when the keen birdwatcher Ian Fleming needed a name that sounded as ordinary as possible, he had to look no further than the title page of Bond’s great work. Why does the name of an actual ornithologist sound so right as the name of a fictional spy? Why couldn’t Fleming have used another pair of common monosyllables—John Clark, say? Bond is a solid, blue-chip, faith-giving kind of a name. Who wouldn’t prefer a government Bond under their mattress (we’re talking AAA British) to a petty clerk? Is your word your clerk? I don’t think so. Bond. It’s in the name.

—Colin Burrow, London Review of Books





  1. Vanessa Oliveira | July 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Dear author,
    I’m editor of a portuguese magazine on birds named Pardela, edited by the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (member of BirdLife International in Portugal) and I would like to know if we could use the James Bond photo in this article. If so, do you have it in better quality and who’s to credit for?
    All the best,
    Vanessa Oliveira

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