James Bond books getting edited for racist language
Ian Fleming‘s famous superspy is getting sensitivity training.
In a story similar to edits made to Roald Dahl‘s beloved children’s books, which made their publisher reverse course following a backlash, The Telegraph reports Ian Fleming Publications will bring James Bond’s written adventures more in tune with modern sensibilities for an April rerelease of his books.
Unlike Dahl’s work, which saw pejoratives like “fat” on the chopping block, the company that owns Fleming’s literary rights says it’s removing racist language from the texts. Included are deletions of the “n-word” and references to various characters’ race — if they’re Black. Other references, such as Goldfinger’s Korean, bowler-hat-throwing henchman Oddjob, as well as various Asian pejoratives, remain, the paper explains.
According to The Telegraph, a disclaimer added to the reissued texts will read, “This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace. A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set.”
The company that holds his rights explains that before Fleming’s death in 1964 he allowed edits of his Bond books for various markets: For example, American readers consumed toned-down sex scenes compared to overseas releases. As such, Ian Fleming Publications insists it’s just “following Ian’s approach” in changing the texts.
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