An upcoming reprint of Ian Fleming’s 1950s James Bond books will have passages rewritten to remove “racially insensitive” words and stereotypes.
The announcement comes on the heels of an outcry over news that Roald Dahl’s books will be edited to be more “inclusive”.
New printings of the books also include a disclaimer, “This book was written at a time when norms and attitudes that might be considered offensive by modern readers were common.”
“Several updates have been made in this edition, keeping it as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set,” the disclaimer adds.
Before his death, the author agreed to allow the US publisher to tone down racist references in Live and Let Die.
“All of the author’s thrillers featuring 007 will be reprinted in April, 70 years since the first book in the series, Casino Royale, was published,” reports the Telegraph. “Ian Fleming Publications Limited, the company that holds the literary rights to the author’s works, has commissioned a critical reader’s review of the classic texts under its control.”
One of the rewrites in “Live and Let Die” changes the original line referring to the Africans, who are “law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except they were too drunk,” to say, “Pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.”
The Telegraph provided more examples of edits:
Another altered scene involves Bond visiting New York’s Harlem, where a sleazy strip teases 007 in a nightclub, where the male audience is increasingly aroused.
The original passage reads: “The audience can hear Bond panting and grunting like pigs in a tank. He felt his hands grip the tablecloth. His mouth was dry.”
The revised section replaces the reference to Pigs: “Bond can sense the electrical pressure in the room.”
“We at Ian Fleming Publications reviewed the text of the original Bond books and decided it was our best course of action to follow Ian’s lead. We have made changes to Live and Let Die that he himself authorized,” the publisher said in a statement.
“Following Ian’s approach, we looked at several instances of ethnic words throughout the books and removed several individual words or changed them to words that are more accepted today but more in keeping with the period in which the books were written,” the statement continued. “We encourage people to read the books when the new paperbacks are published in April.”
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