• The safety pins.Ian Fleming, an enlightened spy

"I yearn for you even if you whip me, because I like to be hurt and kissed later," he wrote to Ian Fleming his wife Ann, who considered James Bond novels "pornographic," but did not give up the sadomasochistic element. in their tortuous relationship . The two were lovers before husband and wife, and over 20 years more than 160 letters were written that have stood the test of time and now go up for auction.

It will be in Sothebys, between December 3 and 10, with an estimated starting price of 233,000 euros to the highest bidder, among which undoubtedly will be the devoted readers of Casino Royale , Goldfinger or Live and let die : eighty million copies sold of his novels and more than 6,000 million euros raised by the highest grossing film saga until the arrival of superheroes.

Journalist, writer and spy , Ian Fleming (London, 1908-Canterbury, 1964) reincarnated in life in 007 and did not need to project many of his fantasies on him. If intense sexual life did not have much to envy to that of his famous agent, nor his flaunting of sexism and misogyny.

Fleming, however, adopted for years the passive role of a waiting lover, playing golf in the morning with Viscount Rothermere (Esmond Harmsworth) and sleeping at night with his wife, Ann Charteris, who had already been married to the baron Shane ONeill. The correspondence between the two dates back to Ann's two marriages, when the relationship was marked by passion and unease. " I don't know what to say to comfort you, " Ian wrote to his unhappy lover. "After all these tribulations and this pain, everything is getting more bitter. I can only send you my arms, and my love, and my prayers."

In 1948, four before getting married, Ian made Ann pregnant with a girl who was born prematurely and died at eight o'clock. The couple eventually had another son, Caspar, who fell into the grip of the drug long after the father's death and ended up committing suicide.

Impossible love however rose to the category of formal marriage in 1952, the same year Ian Fleming publishes Casino Royale . The novel was, according to his own confession, "a way to get distracted" by the anxiety caused by the wedding and the imminent paternity.

Fleming initially conceived James Bond as an apparently normal and boring guy who had extraordinary things happen to him. He thought of him as a cross between actor David Niven and pianist Hoagy Carmichael , with that seemingly affable double appearance that can be very cruel, and vice versa. His ex-girlfriend Clare Blanchard, worried about the obvious autobiographical references, asked him to sign her with a pseudonym . But he ignored.

Casino Royale launches Ian Fleming to a brilliant literary fame. Phagocitated by his own character, writing most of the time since his Jamaican retirement from GoldenEye, Fleming continues to work as an unrepentant lover, as well as as a drinker and smoker.

His wife later recriminates his attitude: "You talk about bad single days, but in reality the only person with whom you have stopped sleeping since marriage is with me." Although the truth is that Ann did not stand still, and in her last years of marriage - and despite her aristocratic ancestry - she developed a peculiar love for Labor politicians as lovers: Hugh Gaitskell and Roy Jenkins, one behind the other.

In the middle of the marriage crisis and on one of his trips, Fleming reflects on the nature of their relationship and sends his wife one of his saddest letters, with the British Overseas Airways Corporation seal: "In the twilight of the present, we are hurting to each other in a way that life becomes hard bearable. "

Ian Fleming was " unable to write a boring phrase and that confers extraordinary appeal to his letters," warns Gabriel Haeton, a manuscript specialist at Sothebys. "Because of their scope and their scale, these letters are an unprecedented approach to their life and work," warns Haeton, who has compiled the epistolary relationship in more than 500 pages, some typed, others handwritten, on pages torn from books or even on the back of a gin cup holder.

Not only is there love and heartbreak in the letters, there is also high society, and travel, and nature, and gossip, and even mundane comments such as the arrival of GoldenEye by Truman Capote, dressed as a "Russian commissioner" after a recent trip to Moscow: "Truman Capote is here to stay. Can you think of a more incongruous playmate for me?"

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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