- The company that owns Fleming’s work hired sensitivity readers to review his novels.
- The collection will be re-released in April to celebrate the 70th anniversary of “Casino Royale.”
Ian Fleming’s famed “James Bond” novels will be edited to remove racist language ahead of their re-release, The Telegraph reports. Fleming’s series is set to be reissued in April for the 70th anniversary of the collection’s first book, “Casino Royale,” according to the outlet.
Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, the company that owns the rights to Fleming’s work, hired sensitivity readers to review the spy series ahead of its re-release, per the outlet.
The Telegraph reported that a disclaimer will be included in the updated novels, promising readers that the edits will keep close to the original text.
“This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace,” the disclaimer reads, according to the outlet. “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.”
Fleming is the latest author to undergo such edits. On February 17, The Telegraph reported that Roald Dahl’s children’s books would be edited to remove words like “fat,” “ugly,” and “crazy” from the newest editions.
On Friday, Puffin UK announced they would release an uncensored collection of Dahl’s work along with the revised collection after receiving backlash for the changes.
The main revisions to Fleming’s text involve depictions of Black people.
In the updated version of his novel “Live and Let Die,” discussion of African criminals is edited to remove comments on alcoholism. The Telegraph reports the text changes from “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much” to “pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.”
In the same novel, when 007 visits Harlem, Fleming frequently used the n-word when describing Black people. The sensitivity edits have removed most uses of the n-word in the text, according to The Telegraph, replacing it with “Black man” or “Black person.”
Racist language used to describe other ethnicities remains untouched in the updated text, per The Telegraph. Terms for East Asian people and comments made about Oddjob, a Korean henchman in the series, as well as sexist and homophobic language have not been edited out of the text.
Prior to his death in 1964, Fleming permitted editors to revise sex scenes and racial language for American markets, according to The Telegraph.
“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,” Ian Fleming Publications Ltd said in a statement to The Telegraph.