Ian Fleming’s James Bond books have been edited to appease modern audiences with non-offensive language.
A new report in The Sunday Telegraph says that new editions of Fleming’s original novels will feature rewritten and deleted passages. Ian Fleming Publications reportedly worked with “sensitivity readers” to identify and rewrite language that could be construed as racist or otherwise problematic.
The organization said Fleming himself was in favor of rewrites and even approved edits to the book “Live and Let Die” (1954) before his death in 1964. Those changes included removing negative slang terms for black people, such as the n-word, and replacing them with simply “black man” or “black person.”
“We at Ian Fleming Publications reviewed the text of the original Bond books and decided our best course of action was to follow Ian’s lead. We have made changes to ‘Live and Let Die’ that he himself authorized,” a spokesperson for Ian Fleming Publications told the publication.
“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.”
The new versions of Bond novels will include a disclaimer: “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 Telegraph went on to note that the books will keep some controversial phrasing while replacing other lines of text. For example, “Casino Royale” still includes phrases like “sweet tang of rape,” “blithering women” failing to do a “man’s work,” insensitive references to east Asians, and references to homosexuality as a “stubborn disability.”
In “Live and Let Die,” however, the line calling Africans “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much” was revised to say, “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.”
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These changes come on the heels of a controversy over Roald Dahl’s books being altered for the same reasons, as The Daily Wire previously reported. The Roald Dahl Story Co. worked with Inclusive Minds, which monitors children’s literature for inclusion, diversity, and accessibility, to change some passages they deemed unacceptable.
While the company insisted changes to Dahl’s texts were “small and carefully considered,” fans were furious to see the late author’s words being changed.
“Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship,” novelist Salman Rushdie tweeted. “Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.”