An upcoming reprinting of Ian Fleming’s 1950’s James Bond books will contain rewritten passages to remove “racially insensitive” words and stereotypes.
The announcement comes on the heels of outrage over news that Roald Dahl’s books will be edited to be more “inclusive.”
The new prints of the books will also contain the 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 disclaimer adds.
Before his death, the author agreed to allow US publishers to tone down racial references in Live and Let Die.
“All of the author’s thrillers featuring 007 are set to be reissued in April to mark 70 years since Casino Royale, the first book in the series, was published,” the Telegraph reports. “Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, the company that owns the literary rights to the author’s work, commissioned a review by sensitivity readers of the classic texts under its control.”
One of the rewrites in “Live and Let Die” changes the original line referring to Africans saying that they are “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much” to say, “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.”
The Telegraph provided more examples of the edits:
Another altered scene features Bond visiting Harlem in New York, where a salacious strip tease at a nightclub makes the male crowd, including 007, increasingly agitated.
The original passage read: “Bond could hear the audience panting and grunting like pigs at the trough. He felt his own hands gripping the tablecloth. His mouth was dry.”
The revised section replaces the pigs reference with: “Bond could sense the electric tension in the room.”
“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 authorised,” the publisher said in a statement.
“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 statement continued. “We encourage people to read the books for themselves when the new paperbacks are published in April.”