(WTVO) — Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels will be celebrating a 70th anniversary this spring, but readers may be surprised to find the latest editions have been censored and re-written by “sensitivity experts.”
According to The Sunday Telegraph, Ian Fleming Publications, which owns the literary rights to the author’s work, commissioned a review of the original books and found
The new editions will be prefaced with a disclaimer that reads, “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 novels were originally written in the 1950s and 1960s.
According to The Independent, depictions of Black people have been reworded or rewritten.
A line in Live and Let Die, in which Bond assesses that African would-be criminals are “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much”, has been changed to “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought”.
However, Bond’s mocking references to Goldfinger‘s Korean henchman, Oddjob, remain, along with references to homosexuality being described as a “stubborn disability” have been kept in, reported The Daily Telegraph.
The reworked texts omit the ethnicity of a doctor and immigration officer in Dr. No, a barman in Thunderball, and a butler in Quantum of Solace.
The American edition of Live and Let Die also tones down the sex scenes, according to the Telegraph.
“Following Ian’s approach, we looked at the instances of several racial terms across the books and removed a number of individual words or else swapped them for terms that are more accepted today but in keeping with the period in which the books were written,” Ian Fleming Publications said in a statement.
The news comes one week after it was reported that Penguin Random House was editing Roald Dahl’s books to remove the offensive language, including a description that called Augustus Gloop, in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, “fat,” which has been changed to “enormous.”
On Friday, the publisher stepped back following censorship criticism, saying it would also publish unedited “classic” versions so “readers will be free to choose which version of Dahl’s stories they prefer.”