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ENGLISH 3GF3 Studies in Popular Genres

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Donald Goellnicht


Office: Chester New Hall 225

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26259

Office Hours: Thursday, 1:30-2:30pm

Course Objectives:

English/CSCT 3GF3: Studies in Genre Fiction

Bond, James Bond: In Fiction and Film

Course Description and Objectives:

James Bond, 007, Ian Fleming’s British spy, debuted with the publication of Casino Royale in 1953; twelve novels, two collections of short stories, twenty-four films, and sixty-five years later, Fleming’s Bond is the most famous secret agent and one of the most famous Britons ever. The Bond film franchise is the longest-running and one of the most financially successful (adjusted for inflation) in film history—and there appears to be no end in sight as Bond is re-born or re-booted for each new generation.

Fleming’s novels and story collections were written and published over a fairly concentrated period, from 1953 to 1966, at the rate of one per year, portraying Bond as a British spy dealing with the post-World War Two period of the 1950s and early 60s—the period of the Cold War between communism and the “free world,” the decline of the British empire, and the burgeoning of U.S. imperialism. (A host of authorized Bond novels and stories, as well as a “young Bond” series, by other writers have been published since the death of Ian Fleming in 1964, some of them novelizations of Bond films, but there will not be time to consider these.)

The twenty-four Bond films produced by Eon Films over fifty years, from Dr No (1962) to Spectre (2015), have covered a significantly longer historical trajectory, so have seen greater changes to the figure of Bond and to the personal, professional, and political issues he encounters: the influence of feminism and changing gender roles, the emergence of Thatcherism and neo-conservatism, the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the decline of Europe in a postcolonial world, the economic rise of Asia, the increase in Islamophobia and the War on Terror after 9/11, and so on. The films were originally based closely on the Fleming novels, but they have tended over time to move further and further from the novels or stories they were “based” on and named after; and Ian Fleming titles have been exhausted. From the outset, the films did not follow the order or chronology of Fleming’s novels and stories. There have been eleven different directors of the Eon Bond movies, and six actors, ranging from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, have played 007. (There have been two additional Bond feature film made outside of the Eon franchise, but we will not be dealing with those.)

This course will consider James Bond in selected Fleming novels and Eon films, reading these texts closely, but also considering Bond as an icon in popular culture. Issues such as gender, race, class, sexuality, colonialism and postcolonialism, imperialism and the geopolitics of the second half of the twentieth century and the early twenty-first century will be explored. Issues of genre—how Fleming adapted and influenced the spy thriller and the effect of Bond movies on the genre of spy films—will also be taken up. Five novels and six films, some paired, others not, will be studied in an attempt to gain an overview of Bond, although it will be impossible to attain a comprehensive understanding of the Bond cultural phenomenon (which involves multiple spinoffs, including comic strips, video games, “fan films,” toys, and toiletries) in a single course.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:


Casino Royale (1953)

Moonraker (1955)

Dr. No (1958)

Thunderball (1961)

You Only Live Twice (1964)


Dr. No (1962. Sean Connery; dir: Terence Young)

Goldfinger (1964. Sean Connery; dir: Guy Hamilton)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969. George Lazenby; dir: Peter Hunt)

Moonraker (1979. Roger Moore; dir: Lewis Gilbert)

Casino Royale (2006. Daniel Craig; dir: Martin Campbell)

Skyfall (2012. Daniel Craig; dir: Sam Mendes)

NB: The novels are available for purchase in the Bookstore. The films are available for streaming or purchase online from a number of services, including YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. You must view the films before the relevant class.

Method of Assessment:

Assignments and Evaluation:

Two brief response papers (500 words each): 20% (10% each)

Response papers are due in the class related to the relevant text. The first response will be to one of the first three novels: Casino Royale, due January 15th; or Moonraker, due January 22nd; or Dr. No, due January 29th. The second response paper will be to one of the first three films: Dr. No, due February 5th; or Goldfinger, due February 12th; or On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, due March 5th. You will decide on your response-paper topics but they should be focused enough for you to deal with in 500 words.

Major paper (2000 words): 40%

Topics will be distributed/posted. The format of your citations should follow the MLA style. The official due date is Monday, March 26th and essays submitted by that date will receive a grade and full commentary. The “late” due date is April 2nd and essays submitted by that date will receive a grade and brief final comment only.

Final examination: 40%

The final examination (2 hours) will cover material from the entire course and will be scheduled by the Registrar’s Office in the regular examination period.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Assignment Policy:

Response papers are due in class on the specified due date. You have three choices of due date for each response paper; no papers will be accepted after the relevant due date. Final papers submitted by the official due date of Monday, March 26th will receive a grade and full commentary; papers submitted by the “late” due date of Monday, April 2nd will receive a grade and brief final comment only. No papers will be accepted after April 2nd unless accompanied by proper documentation.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Week 1 (January 4, 8, 11)  Introduction: Overview of the Bond phenomenon

Week 2 (January 15, 18)  Casino Royale (novel)—lecture & discussion

Week 3 (January 22, 25)  Moonraker (novel)—lecture & discussion

Week 4 (January 29, February 1)  Dr. No (novel)—lecture & discussion

Week 5 (February 5, 8)  Dr. No (film)—lecture & discussion

Week 6 (February 12, 15)  Goldfinger (film)—lecture & discussion

Reading Week (February 19-25)

Week 7 (February 26, March 1)  Thunderball (novel)—lecture & discussion

Week 8 (March 5, 8)  On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (film)—lecture & discussion

Week 9 (March 12, 15)  You Only Live Twice (novel)—lecture & discussion

Week 10 (March 19, 22)  Moonraker (film)—lecture & discussion

Week 11 (March 26, 29)  Casino Royale (film)—lecture & discussion

Week 12 (April 2, 5)  Skyfall (film)—lecture & discussion

Week 13 (April 9)  Review