A set of letters from James Bond creator Ian Fleming reveal his fiery relationship with Austrian lover Edith Morpurgo, as he tells her how he would like "to hurt you because you have earned it and in order to tame you like a little wild animal".
The fascinating correspondence, written in German in the early 1930s, are being auctioned in New York next week by specialist bookseller Peter Harrington.
They come with a slightly 50 Shades feel (decades before EL James' novels became a hit) with hints of sadomasochism and a passionate, fervent undertone.
"I will say nothing more to you, only that I ---- you," Fleming writes at one point. "If I were to say 'love' you would only argue, and then I would have to whip you and you would cry and I don't want that. I only want for you to be happy."
He adds that he doesn't like Morpurgo's friends "because I am a little jealous of them and don't like the fact that you look forward to being with them", but adds: "I know I cannot keep you in a cage like a bird."
At another point in the same letter, he reveals a more loving and vulnerable side saying, "I'd like to sleep with you just once and do nothing to you, just wrap my arms around you and hold you tight and find you there when I wake up."
One of Ian Fleming's letters to his lover
Fleming's lover Edith Morpurgo was the daughter of a Salzburg businessman and is thought to have been in her early 20s when the James Bond writer met her. Fleming lived in Austria in the late 1920s and returned there often after he took up a job at Reuters and then a bank in London.
It's thought Fleming dated Morpurgo in 1934-1935 when he was in his mid-20s - and long before he published his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1953.
The set of letters and photographs reveal an increasingly tempestuous affair between the two, moving from infatuation to frustration, lust and moments of despair. One of the letters (detailed above) has even been ripped up - presumably in an act of upset or anger - before being taped back together again.
"I only want to kiss you and say nothing. It makes no sense, but I send you the pieces – of my HEART!!!!" Fleming writes in one of the earlier letters.
He also uses erotic illustrations to underlie his feelings.
"You are a dearest, dearest darling and I am very happy about you and everything. I kiss you every everywhere, especially here, here and here and hold you tight until you squeal," he writes in one, next to a drawing of a pair of eyes and a pair of feet and kisses indicated at mouth, breast and vagina level.
He signs off, " Your Ian. P.S. The letter is ridiculous but you are to blame – Ha!"
Ian Fleming in Austria in 1964
In some of the letters, which include a captioned photograph of Fleming in the Austrian mountains in 1934 (above), Fleming appears to veer between affection and possessiveness:
"High class ninny, the dust is a meter deep in the apartment," he writes in one message. "Since the day you went away, I have not been back there again, and there must be some letters for you there. Your flowers must be there too. When will you come back and clean everything up? You can have it whenever you want to and I won’t 'bother' you, and you won’t have to watch out for my lies.
"Please, Edith, come. I can’t use the apartment in any case, because it still stinks of you (should I have said smells), and besides no candidate is available.
"I have always called you Morpurgo and you live as Morpurgo in my reminiscences, and Morpurgo you will remain, swear as much as you like. So ‘balls to you’, respectively L.M.A.A [ for Leck mich am Arsch - a German swearword], and be content with that. No, seriously, dearest you, come back to the apartment and I will leave you in peace. I would also like you to see that I haven’t lied this time."
Bond star Sean Connery with Ian Fleming on-set Goldfinger in 1964
After an apparent row, Fleming writes:
"You are accustomed to seeing the worst in people, and so the bad comes out so easily. I have found myself feeling like a child in front of its malicious governess
"You, dearest dear, I have had so much joy with you. I was so blessed with you and happy that you were slowly getting better. You cannot take away the moments that we had together with a hand-full of swearwords."
Another letter reads:
"Perhaps already, since you annoy me, and always want to be right – just like me – so I have to argue with you and I am so happy when you get cross too as I know that it doesn’t matter and that we will be good again. But I am also sad because you have given me so much – not bodily – and I am now richer than before."
Ian Fleming at the Dr No film post screening party in 1962
The correspondence and photographs go on auction at the New York antiquarian book fair next week and are expected to fetch up to £47,500.
"[The letters] show romantic flirting, and a rather sadistic side to Fleming as well," senior specialist Adam Douglas told the Guardian. "They were written so early in his career that he was of course not famous… so the chances of somebody keeping this kind of material are quite low... They're by an author well before he became an author, playing around with the things he would turn to gold."
Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Rex Features