Bondage

The title of the next James Bond movie, as you’ve probably heard but had trouble believing, is Quantum of Solace. Apparently the title is drawn from the same Ian Fleming short story collection that yielded up A View to a Kill and For Your Eyes Only. Lit-bloggers have been falling all over each other in their haste to come up with an appropriately cutting comparison.

To Elisabeth Vincentelli, the title suggests “something that’d be playing at Manhattan Theater Club.” James Wolcott, ever the literary critic, says:

To me, it sounds like the title of a “promising debut novel” by a creative-writing graduate with Jonathan Lethem stars in his eyes and the moppety bed-head hair of a mumblecore actor. My imagination, it’s so vivid.

Personally, when I heard the title I thought some enterprising grad student had turned up a long-lost volume of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time. I often wonder how much more popular Powell’s cycle would be if only he’d put a rocket base hidden inside a volcano in The Kindly Ones. But that’s just me.

Mainly, I just worry for the poor movie reviewers. I remember the Bond series back in the Timothy Dalton days, and the way bewildered critics blinked and clawed at their hair when Licence to Kill went out in the U.S. with the British spelling unchanged. Now here comes Quantum of Solace, a three-word title with a big ol’ dictionary word at either end. The poor little things will be in an absolute tailspin.

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