James Bond books will be rewritten for tolerance
Photo: GLOBAL LOOK PRESS
Casino Royale, English writer Ian Fleming’s first novel about a British intelligence superspy, was set to celebrate 70 years since its first publication this year. According to The Guardian, as a “gift”, British publishers decided to release an edited version of the James Bond film “taking into account the characteristics of the 21st century”.
Ian Fleming Publications, which owns the rights to the author’s works, commissioned “sensitivity experts” to clean up book collections because certain parts of the story could harm “certain categories of readers.” Edited stories will be published in April.
So experts plan to remove the names of individual races and ethnic groups. For example, the word “Negro”, which was still found in books from the 1960s, will be replaced by “dark-skinned” and other mild synonyms that have a suitable meaning. At the same time, it was decided to drop the mockery of Bond from the Korean Oddjob from the novel “Goldfinger”.
In the second novel, Live and Let Die, a line was cut about African criminals who, according to Bond, are “pretty law-abiding fellows, except when they’ve had too much to drink.” In this sentence, the words about drinking were removed.
However, the editors decided to leave some offensive epithets (such as comparing homosexuals to disabled people), as well as references to “prodigal women”, “the sweet taste of rape”, and other details of the adventures of a British intelligence officer. But with a special note: “This book was written at a time when terms and viewpoints that may seem offensive to the modern reader were commonplace.” Now this phrase will accompany all Bond novels.
Previously, it was decided to rework a series of children’s novels by the English writer Roald Dahl, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in a similar way. Gone from the original texts, some of which are more than 50 years old, are the colorful and memorable descriptions of the characters that, according to the author’s idea, made them more grotesque. The publishers made hundreds of edits and even added some of the verse to “make it more acceptable to modern culture.”
Readers reacted negatively to such changes, calling them “literary lynching” and an “Orwellian rewriting of history”.