11 October 2002
FLEMING, Ian. Moonraker. London: Jonathan Cape, 1955.
8o. Original black boards, lettered in silver; pictorial dust jacket after a design by Ian Fleming and Kenneth Lewis (very lightly worn). Provenance: Muriel Williams, Fleming's proofreader and secretary (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION of Fleming's third Bond novel. PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED TO HIS LONGTIME PERSONAL SECRETARY on the front free endpaper: "To Muriel Williams The kindly connoisseur from Ian Fleming 1955."
Muriel Williams was Fleming's in-house private secretary and proof reader throughout his career as a novelist. Along with John Hayward and William Plomer, she read each Bond novel in manuscript, making corrections and suggestions before publication.
With Moonraker, the most self-consciously autobiographical of the Bond novels yet, Fleming began to experience a few doubts as to the seriousness of his writing. When he received Chandler's approval about his previous book "the real importance of the friendship went beyond the mere restoration of Fleming's confidence in James Bond. It quickly seems to have changed the whole attitude of Fleming to his hero and his work and to have made him decide that his next book, instead of finishing off Bond for good, would go to the opposite extreme" (Pearson The Life of Ian Fleming London, 1966 page 313).
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