I had some similar feelings with Live and Let Die. The sheer amount of seemingly accepted racism just made it feel from another very uncomfortable time.
I have similar issues with the Bond books. I won’t wave away the racism, sexism and misogyny. Ian Fleming was, by all accounts, all of those things.
There are some good stories though.
I made a start of Diamonds Are Forever which, going by the first few chapters, seems to be about gangs in the US and diamond mines in Africa which should lead to lots of opportunities for casual racism and chances to go
In my opinion the best ones are From Russia From Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Don’t think you lot would enjoy Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Birth of a Nation.
History can be upsetting!
Much as I enjoy the James Bond books, I’m not sure that they could be considered history. However I take your point. You can’t always judge people by today’s standards. And in the novels, Bond can be a fairly awful person at times as well.
Isn’t Uncle Tom’s Cabin anti-racist for its time?
I don’t think I get your point. One of them was an abolitionist book that highly influenced Abraham Lincoln in his view on slavery. The other was a film that idealized Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Klu Klux Klan. Both were viewed in their day in a similar light as they would be today.
The problem with the Bond books is their casual racism and sexism that while somewhat nominal for their time are on the far reaches on that grouping.
I may have said this before, but Fleming was a horrible snob. Apparently he wanted David Niven to play Bond. He used to refer to Sean Connery as “The Labourer”…although not to his face.
I’ve read that he referred to him as a “filthy lorry driver”. As I understand it, a lot of Flemings character came through in his writing and while it wasn’t completely out of the norm, it was on the far end.
My point, dear boy, is that ALL fiction must be taken in its full historical context. A government-sanctioned assassin is a bit sexist? Shocking!
Really, a bit of a pet peeve. Context of the time of the writing and what motivated a person to go through all the time and work of writing a book is important. Every time I’ve taught kids (formal or informal) one thing I emphasize is to read the publication date. Then it becomes clear that a spy novel written in the 1950’s would reflect prevalent 1950’s values, and so on.
I’m saying Flemings penchant for sexism and racism is only barely within the norm for the time and the other two works were pushing against the norm in opposite directions.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an abolitionist work during it’s time and Birth of a Nation was a highly racist work during it’s time. There really hasn’t been any historical revision on their context.
Which leads to the lesson about how some material is a result of the forces in play on the author at time of writing as related to how some material reveals human nature.
And we’re back to nature versus nurture, and counting the angels dancing on the head of a pin!
Are you pivoting on me, Miqque?
Not only, but I think I’m hungry. Very, very hungry.
I recommend the “flamin’ hot” ones:
Completing my Tolkien kick, I’m rereading the Silmarillion.
I am about to be finished with “Als wir träumten” (When We Were Dreaming) by Clemens Meyer, which is a novel about a group of boys growing up in Leipzig shortly after the German reunification. It’s basically all about drinking a lot (!), fighting and fucking. Some drugs and techno, too. Think a German trainspotting, basically.
Well, I say it’s all about that, but it’s not. Those are things that happen. But there is a deep veneer of sadness, of loss throughout the novel, a fierce desire to be something other than you are, for beauty and friendship and happiness in a world that is entirely bleak and ruled by egotism and anger. It is also a romance, or more accurately there is a love story in there that is mostly notable through the pain of its having ended badly.
It’s very good; this guy can really write, and unfortunately that doesn’t come around all that often these days in German literature. There is no English translation, but if anyone’s interested, his short stories are out in English:
That sounds pretty good, too; I already ordered it.