James Bond books rewritten to remove ‘offensive’ references

It comes days after a row over the editing of Roald Dahl’s books

Emily Atkinson
Sunday 26 February 2023 08:59 GMT

Related video: Philip Pullman addresses controversial Roald Dahl edits

Racial references have been removed from Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels following a sensitivity review.

Terms such as the n-word, which featured in his writing from the 1950s and 1960s, have been edited out of new editions of the 007 books, which are set for reissue in April.

Some depictions of Black people have also been reworked or removed, but references to other ethnicities, including the use of a term for east Asian people and Bond’s mocking views of Oddjob, Goldfinger’s Korean henchman, remain.

Revised lines include Bond’s assessment in Live and Let Die that African would-be criminals are “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much”, which has been changed to “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought”.

New editions of Ian Fleming’s books are set to be released in April to celebrate 70 years since the publication of his first novel, ‘Casino Royale’

However, references to the “sweet tang of rape”, “blithering women”, doing a “man’s work”, and homosexuality being described as a “stubborn disability” have been kept in, reported The Daily Telegraph.

A disclaimer accompanying the new editions is expected to read: “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.”

It comes after Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, which owns the rights to his work, commissioned a review by sensitivity readers of the James Bond series. The Independent has contacted Ian Fleming Publications Ltd for comment.

The new issues are set to mark 70 years since the publication of Mr Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale.

The James Bond literary franchise comprises a series of novels and short stories

It comes a week after it emerged that Roald Dahl’s books were being rewritten to remove language considered offensive.

The word “fat”, for example, had been cut from every book. Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is instead described as “enormous”.

On Friday, the Queen Consort forced publisher Puffin UK to back down on its censorship of the author’s work, after she intervened in the row.

The latest editions of Roald Dahl’s children’s books were also edited to remove language that was deemed offensive

In a speech to mark the second anniversary of her literary initiative Reading Room at Clarence House, Camilla urged writers “to remain true to your calling, unimpeded by those who may wish to curb the freedom of your expression or your imagination”.

In what was interpreted as her disapproval of the changes made to the text of Dahl’s classic books, the Queen Consort said: “Let there be no squeaking like mice, but only roaring like a pride of lions!”

The decision to edit Dahl’s words also attracted criticism from a number of leading literary figures, including Salman Rushdie, who called the edits “absurd”.

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