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Reading: The Bond Phenomenon: Theorising a Popular Hero – A Retrospective


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The Bond Phenomenon: Theorising a Popular Hero – A Retrospective


Tony Bennett


This article examines the theoretical questions posed by studying a phenomenon constituted by a range of texts grouped together by virtue of the hero figure they share and jointly construct. “The Bond phenomenon”, it is argued, can best be conceptualised as a phenomenon located within the intertextual relations which have been constructed by (and have comprised the theatre for the operation of) the signifier “James Bond”. This entails studying the individual texts which comprise the “texts of Bond” in the light of the shifting orders of intertextuality within which they have been culturally active during different moments of “the Bond phenomenon”. This, in turn, entails developing methods of analysis whereby changes in the signifying functions attributable to the individual “texts of Bond” can be understood as the product of periodic reorganisations of the internal configuration of that textual set.  These issues are explored in relation to the changing constitution of the “texts of Bond” – Fleming’s novels, the Bond films, interviews – at different moments in the political career of Bond as a popular hero.


Keywords: James Bond; Ian Fleming; intertextuality; popular hero; mythologies; spy fiction; popular culture.

How to Cite: Bennett, T. (2017). The Bond Phenomenon: Theorising a Popular Hero – A Retrospective. International Journal of James Bond Studies, 1(1), 2. DOI:
Published on 25 May 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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