• Sunday, March 26, 2023


No ‘offensive racial references’ in James Bond novels’ new edition

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – DECEMBER 17: A boy looks at a poster of the latest James Bond movie, “Die Another Day” December 17, 2002 outside a cinema in Seoul, South Korea. North Korea has urged the United States to stop showing the 20th James Bond feature film. The North Korean Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland called the movie a “dirty and cursed burlesque aimed to slander (North Korea) and insult the Korean nation.” The film will be released in South Korea on December 31, 2002. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/ Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

JAMES BOND novels will be reissued with “a small number” of racially offensive references removed while “keeping as close as possible to the original text”.

Racial words “likely to cause great office now” have been altered in the rewritten version of the thrillers in line with modern sensibilities, Ian Fleming Publications Ltd said on Monday (27).

The publisher said the British author, Ian Fleming, who had approved the removal of “racially troubling” references from the American edition of his second novel Live and Let Die, would have approved these edits too.

A Telegraph report said the offensive ‘N-word’ used to refer to black people will be dropped from the new version of the novels to be made available from April this year.

But racial terms for east Asian people and Bond’s disparaging views of Oddjob, Goldfinger’s Korean henchman will remain, it said.

References to the “sweet tang of rape”, homosexuality being a “stubborn disability” and “blithering women” failing to do a “man’s work” will also stay in the spy novels.

The news comes after another publisher, Puffin UK, last week announced it would release the original versions of Roald Dahl’s children’s books following a wave of backlash over their re-editing for a modern audience.

Novelist Salman Rushdie led the condemnations of changes to Dahl’s books describing them as “absurd censorship” by “bowdlerising sensitivity police”.

In the case of James Bond novels, Ian Fleming Publications said the “changes will be small in number,” while some books including the author’s first novel Casino Royale will remain completely unaltered.

“We are certain Fleming would approve these edits just as he approved the change to the American edition of Live and Let Die”, the Fleming family company that owns the literary copyrights on his books said.

The writer’s fictions featuring Bond with his codename 007 rank among all-time best-seller series and movies based on the spy novels have become popular worldwide.

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