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Sensibility readers censor and edit Ian Fleming’s James Bond books

Sensibility readers censor and edit Ian Fleming’s James Bond books

A week after censors edited Roald Dahl’s classic children’s books to remove content deemed objectionable, “sensitive readers” are rewriting Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond novels.

Fleming’s James Bond books are set to be reissued in April to mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of “Casino Royale,” the first novel in the 007 franchise.

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, the company that owns the literary rights to the author’s work, instructed “sensitive readers” to study the James Bond novels and delete any offensive content before republication.

The reprinted books will reportedly remove the race and ethnicity of certain characters.

Fleming’s books will have descriptions of black people “reworked or removed.”

The Telegraph reported: “In the reader-approved sensibility version of ‘Live and Let Die,'” Bond’s assessment that would-be African criminals in the gold and diamond trade are “very law-abiding men who should have thought, except when “I’ve had too much to drink” becomes – “some very law abiding guys should have thought”.

Censors will alter a scene where Bond witnesses a striptease in a nightclub in Harlem, New York.

The original book said: “Bond could hear the audience panting and grunting like pigs at the trough. He felt his own hands grasping the tablecloths. His mouth was dry.”

The rewritten passage will read: “Bond could feel the electrical tension in the room.”

Sensibility readers decided to remove a description of an accent described as “straight Harlem-Deep South with a lot of New York thrown in.”

Racial slurs denigrating blacks that Fleming used in his writings in the 1950s and 1960s will also be removed from the new editions.

The Telegraph noted: “Dated references to other ethnicities remain, such as Bond’s racial terms for East Asian people and the spy’s disparaging views of Oddjob, Goldfinger’s Korean henchman.”

The British outlet said other expressions that will remain include: “sweet touch of rape”, “happy women”, “man’s work” and referring to homosexuality as a “stubborn disability”.

Ian Fleming Publications issued a statement regarding the published James Bond novels:

At Ian Fleming Publications we reviewed the text of the original Bond books and decided that our best course was to follow Ian’s example. We’ve made changes to Live and Let Die that he authorized himself. Following Ian’s approach, we looked at the occurrences of various racial terms in the books and removed a number of individual words or changed them to terms more accepted today, but in keeping with the period in which the books. We encourage people to read the books for themselves when the new paperbacks are released in April.

Revised novels will include a disclaimer that reads: “This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes that modern readers might find offensive were commonplace. Several updates have been made in this edition, keeping- be as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set.”

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