Friday, 12 February 2016

The curious case of GoldenEye

There is one curious legacy of the film GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan's debut Bond film released 20 years ago, and that is the adoption of the title's form, with its distinctive mid-word upper case 'E' (an example of CamelCase or medial capitals), by those writing the name of Ian Fleming's Jamaican home. Look at the website of the Goldeneye Resort, of which Fleming's home is now only one part, and you'll notice that its name is given as GoldenEye. What's more, this form has been occasionally used since 1995 in the pages of the Daily Gleaner, Jamaica's foremost newspaper.

For example, a piece published on 4th August 2010 stated that 'GoldenEye provides simple, contemporary Jamaican style luxury'. On 14th June, the Gleaner reported on the first Bizot Party at 'GoldenEye Hotel Resort’s Bizot Bar', where signature cocktails such as The GoldenEye Punch were being served. And the edition of 29th November 2013 reported on 'the opportunity to buy into GoldenEye' with a shares being offered in lagoon units.

It has to be said that the CamelCase form of the name isn't particularly common in the Gleaner, and that 'Goldeneye' is preferred. This hasn't always been the case, however. In the 1950s and 1960s, when Ian Fleming was resident at the property, Goldeneye was usually rendered in the Gleaner as Golden Eye (for example in the editions of 2nd March 1951, 31st March 1959 and 15th May 1961). In contrast, the use of the form Goldeneye was rare during the same period.

Ian Fleming, as suggested by his correspondence to his wife Ann and others, gave the name of his winter retreat as Goldeneye. While Fleming was not especially consistent with names (he wrote to and about Ann or Anne, and about his son Caspar or Kaspar or Kasper), he does appear to have been consistent with Goldeneye, probably because it was the name of a wartime operation with which he had been involved.

Why the Gleaner preferred Golden Eye is uncertain, although it suggests that reporters were unfamiliar with how Fleming wrote the name, and that they were prompted by analogy with, say, Golden Eye, the name of eye treatment widely available in the island, and The Golden Eye (1948), a popular film featuring Charlie Chan.

The spelling of Goldeneye has evolved and diverged and encompassed competing forms. During Fleming's lifetime, Goldeneye competed with the variant Golden Eye, but Golden Eye has declined to become virtually extinct (it is absent from recent Gleaners). Goldeneye has since become the dominant form, but GoldenEye, the variant that emerged in 1995, has offered further competition. Its use is largely restricted to the matters relating to the film, but the huge success and popularity of the film, and its use in official publicity for the Goldeneye Resort, has allowed the variant or meme to spread beyond its cinematic context, a trend that is likely to continue.


  1. Interesting. Now you've got me wondering if I used CamelCase when I named my fictional version of GoldenEye in one of my fanfics.

    1. Thanks. Curious about your fanfic. What's the plot?

    2. Originally, they were written as a response to a photo somebody had posted up on a wristwatch forum. Before long, I began having fun with writing them and some kind of story began to develop, even though it's plot is thin. Since I have yet to properly continue (or actually start) my Bond film script (started during Brosnan's tenure), I felt that any kind of writing could only be good for me.
      Anyway, here's my version of Fleming's GoldenEye;

      I hope you like it, EB. It's not exactly Fleming.


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