After the controversy surrounding Roald Dahl’s script adaptation in recent days, now it’s the turn to rewrite Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.
A report in Britain’s The Telegraph revealed that ahead of the April re-release of the Bond novels to celebrate the 70th anniversary of “Casino Royale,” the first book in the series, rights holders Ian Fleming Publications Ltd had a review by allergy readers.
Each book will bear the disclaimer, “This book was written at a time when terms and situations that might be considered offensive by modern readers were common. A number of updates have been made in this edition, keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set ,” the Telegraph said.
A pejorative term commonly used by Fleming to refer to black people, whose Bond books were published between 1951 and 1966, has been almost completely removed and replaced with the word “black person” or “black man”. In other cases, references have been edited.
For example, in Live and Let Die (1954), Bond’s opinion of Africans in the gold and diamond trade as “law-abiding pretty chaps, unless they drink too much” is changed to “law-abiding pretty chaps I had to think “.
Another scene in the book, set during a striptease tease in a Harlem nightclub, was originally “Bond could hear the audience gasping and shrieking like pigs at a trough. He felt his hands gripping the tablecloth. His mouth was dry.” This was revised to “Bond can feel the electrical tension in the room.” A section of the book describing the textured dialogue as “straightforward Harlem-Deep South with a lot of New York thrown in” was removed from the book.
In several books, including “Thunderball” (1961), “Quantum of Solace” (1960) and “Goldfinger” (1959), races have been removed. Fleming himself authorized adaptations of the American version of Live and Let Die. Fleming died in 1964.
Ian Fleming Publications told The Telegraph: “We at Ian Fleming Publications have reviewed the script of the original Bond books and have decided that our best course of action is to follow Ian’s lead. We have made changes to Live and Let Us Die which he himself authorized.”
Following Ian’s approach, we looked at the instances of several ethnic terms across the books and either removed a number of individual words or replaced them with terms that are more acceptable 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.”
diverse I have reached out to Ian Fleming’s publications for comment.
The James Bond films are one of the most successful franchises of all time, grossing $7.8 billion. The recent film No Time To Die, released in 2021, saw Daniel Craig retire from the role.
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