Item #155919 Thunderball. Ian FLEMING.
Thunderball.
Thunderball.
Thunderball.
Thunderball.
Thunderball.
Thunderball.
Thunderball.
Thunderball.
Thunderball.

Thunderball.

Jonathan Cape, 1961. Octavo. Original dark brown boards, spine lettered in gilt (Gilbert's binding A, no priority of issue), skeletal hand motif on front cover in blind. With dust jacket. Housed in a custom blue quarter morocco folding box. A near-fine copy in fine dust jacket, not price-clipped, couple of nicks and creases to extremities, a bright and sharp example. First edition, first impression, presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, "To Jack. By appointment, M.O. to the SIS! Ian". A fascinating presentation: the recipient is very likely Jack Whittingham (1910-1972), who had worked with Fleming on an original Bond film screenplay named Thunderball, a collaborative project that predated the book by two years. The specificity of the inscription underlines their unique association: Whittingham, who was appointed by Fleming to lend a professional screenwriter's touch to the film treatment, is designated by the author as its "M.O." ("medical officer", or "orderly", in military and government parlance). The third collaborator in the screenplay was the Irish film producer Kevin McClory, who hoped to make the film himself. Fleming used the screenplay as the unacknowledged basis for his novel, but signed a film agreement with Eon Productions, ignoring McClory's claim on the property. The novel Thunderball was published in March 1961 and within a fortnight McClory had signalled his intention to sue, with Whittingham as his co-plaintiff. Strange though it may seem that Fleming should present a copy of the contentious book to the screenwriter who was suing him, it is entirely in keeping with his behaviour during the case. Fleming persisted in thinking that he had done nothing wrong and that the whole thing would be sorted out in an affable manner. As a result of an out-of-court settlement in November 1963, future versions of the novel gave the credit, "based on the screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, and Ian Fleming" (in that order). Fleming and Whittingham never became estranged during the complicated affair and remained on friendly personal terms. In May 1961 they exchanged condolences by letter when both had been hospitalised with heart problems (the letters reproduced in Sellers, p. 126). When Fleming died of a heart attack, nine months after the conclusion of the trial, Whittingham was distraught: "I was with my father when he heard the news, and he was convinced that he'd killed him. He was very shocked and suffered from terrible guilt as he felt he had contributed to Fleming's stress during the trial" (Sylvan Whittingham Mason, quoted in Sellars, p. 128). The ninth Bond novel and the first in the Blofeld trilogy, Thunderball introduces the criminal organization SPECTRE and its leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld. This copy is from the significant Ian Fleming collection of Martin Schøyen (b.1940), with his bookplate. Schøyen's private collection of manuscripts, which span all cultures and all time periods, is one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind. Item #155919

Gilbert A9a; The Schøyen Collection No. 69.

Price: £22,500.00

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