James Bond novels to get rewrites and trigger warnings to avoid offending modern readers
| Last updated
Ian Fleming's James Bond novels will be rewritten in order to protect modern readers who might be triggered by some of the language in the original books.
The Telegraph reported that Ian Fleming’s work is set to be republished in April, marking 70 years since Casino Royale, the first book in the series, was released.
Ian Fleming Publications Ltd commissioned a review by sensitivity readers, leading many novels in the series to be rewritten.
Each book will now come with 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 changes have led racist language to be removed throughout the novels."
Most notably, the series, which was published between 1953 to 1966, has used the N-word in excerpts.
However, the sensitivity reader-approved version has replaced it with the word ‘Black’.
The mention of ethnicity for many side characters has also been removed from the novels.
In one passage where Bond notes the ethnicity of a barman in Thunderball now isn’t mentioned.
In Goldfinger, the ethnicity of the race of the drivers in the Second World War logistics unit, the Red Ball Express, had many black servicemen.
But now their race is not included, merely referring to them as ‘ex-drivers’.
In the new version of Live and Let Die, Bond’s assessment that would-be African criminals in the gold and diamond trades are ‘pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much’.
However, according to the outlet, the excerpt has been changed to ‘pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought’.
Another original passage also states ‘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’.
But its revision removes the pig reference and now reads: “Bond could sense the electric tension in the room.”
Ian Fleming Publications said in a statement, as per The Telegraph: “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.
“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.
“We encourage people to read the books for themselves when the new paperbacks are published in April.”