Reissued editions of James Bond novels will be edited to remove offensive language, the Guardian reports.
Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., the company that manages the literary estate of the British author who created 007, is republishing the writer’s spy novels this spring, in a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the first Bond book, Casino Royale.
The new editions of the books were reviewed by sensitivity readers, who recommended that the n-word be removed from the novels. Other racially insensitive passages have been changed, including one from Live and Let Die, which originally described patrons at a Harlem nightclub as “panting and grunting like pigs at the trough.” The new version reads, “Bond could sense the electric tension in the room.”
A disclaimer in the new editions reads, “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.”
Ian Fleming Publications issued a statement saying that “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.”
News of the changes comes after last week’s controversy that resulted from a report that new editions of Roald Dahl’s children’s novels have been edited to remove descriptions of characters as “fat” and “ugly.” The U.K. publisher of Dahl’s books, Puffin, later announced that it would publish the original versions of the novels alongside the edited ones.
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.