HE is one of Britain’s most famous exports, known for drinking Martinis, seducing women and displaying a risque sense of humour.
But for Spanish fans of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, the secret agent is a far more conservative character than originally portrayed.
The books, the first of which was published 50 years ago, were heavily censored during the Franco era along with a host of other English-language tomes including J. M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Words with sexual connotations such as ‘virgin’ and ‘breast’ were edited out of the 007 novels.
In the case of Dr No – Fleming’s first Bond offering in 1960 – the last two pages were cut altogether after being deemed to be too ‘pornographic’.
According to one Spanish academic, who recently discovered the censored versions are still being reproduced today, many Spaniards remain blissfully unaware of Bond’s true reputation.
Dr Jordi Cornella-Detrell, lecturer in Hispanic Studies at Bangor University, made the findings while conducting a more general study into censorship during the time of Franco.
He describes the news as ‘disconcerting and difficult to explain’.
“During Franco’s regime, foreign ideas were perceived as a potential threat to the moral and social fabric of the country,” he says.
“The regime promoted the very Catholic nature of Spain and censored literature that was at odds with this or with its political stance.
“Ian Fleming’s novels were fairly sexually explicit and salacious for that era and attempts to publish the novels were met with fierce opposition by the Spanish censors.”
Cornella-Detrell claims the ‘pact of forgetting’, a deliberate effort to forget Spain’s controversial past, has prevented readers and the publishing industry from developing an effective strategy to deal with the problem.
“I want to see this issue raised and discussed more widely in Spain so that readers can have access to re-translated or restored books.”
Too Racy? Censored passages
“She kept her arms round his neck while he undid the single button of the brassiere and then the tapes of the taught slip. He stepped out of his bathing trunks and kicked them away.” “He bent down and hooked his fingers in the neckline of her shirt and the join of the brassiere. Very slowly, but with great force, he tore downwards, the whole length of her. Then he threw aside the torn halves of material and exposed the whole gleaming length of her body.”
DR NO (1960) “She undid her blouse and threw it on the floor. Then her skirt. She undid his shirt and slowly, carefully took it off.” “The girl let go his hand and climbed into the sleeping-bag. She looked up at him. She said, practically, ‘It’s a double one. It cost a lot of money. Take those off and come in. You owe me slave-time.”