I want to suggest that the anal anxiety of Diamonds is primarily important not as a textbook illustration of the Rat Man's particular obsessions, but as a surface trace of a deeper phenomenon. I'd like to argue that the Bond universe is premised on a certain obsessive-compulsive logic, but a logic that can more profitably be understood as Althusserian and ideological rather than as simply Freudian and psychological, a logic that is less about regression to infantile sexuality than about the hopes and anxieties spawned by postwar culture.
—Dennis W. Allen, 'Alimentary, Dr. Leiter': Anal Anxiety in Diamonds Are Forever"
The above is excerpted from the essay collection Ian Fleming & James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007, which was also the name of a symposium held at Indiana University in 2003. Bloomington, of all places, is the repository of the bulk of Fleming's books and papers. These, according to an excellent biography by Andrew Lycett, include State of Excitement, Fleming's only unpublished work—disappointingly enough, an account of a trip he made to Kuwait in 1960. (The book failed to meet with the approval of the Kuwait Oil Company, which had commissioned it but did not care for its tone. So it is not the case that Fleming invariably romanticized British post-colonialism.)
Now consider this:
The point of Felix Leiter, such a nonentity as a piece of characterization, is that he, the American, takes orders from Bond, the Britisher, and that Bond is constantly doing better than he, showing himself, not braver or more devoted, but smarter, wilier, tougher, more resourceful—the incarnation of little old England with her quiet ways and shoestring budget wiping the eye of great big global-tentacled multi-billion-dollar-appropriating America.
—Kingsley Amis, The James Bond Dossier
I cannot think of anyone more likely to have ridiculed a "postmodern" conference on the work of Fleming and the semiotics of Bond than the author of this passage. Yet it seems that even Amis felt that Fleming's novels could not be taken at face value. Bond's triumph over Leiter in Diamonds—he tells him where to look inside a corpse for hidden stones—is perhaps an instance of British "guts" rather than British anality. Bond himself is almost always described, and describes himself, as "English," but in the premature Times obituary that is printed in the late-bloomer You Only Live Twice, he is described as having had a Scottish father and a Swiss mother and thus cannot be said to be English at all. Still, there is no doubt that the CIA man Leiter is made from indigestible cardboard—a sort of Jamesian foil for Bond's superior sophistication. (My own very small contribution to Bond studies has been to point out that "Leiter" was the family name of the rich American woman who married Lord Curzon, in the great age of matrimonial alliances between Churchills, Vanderbilts, and Astors, thus helping to secure his fortune and her position in society.) Other than that, Felix Leiter can indeed be read as a sort of signifier or cipher.