Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels have been edited to remove a number of “racial references” and racist content, The Telegraph reports.
In April, Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. will release new versions of the books that have been approved by sensitivity readers. The release date will coincide with the 70th anniversary of “Casino Royale,” the first title in the series published between 1951 and 1966.
According to The Telegraph, changes include the replacement of the N-word with “Black person” or “Black man” in some instances. Many racial or ethnic descriptions have been dropped altogether.
In other cases, language that is now widely recognized as offensive will remain, such as racial slurs targeting East Asian people and Bond’s racist behavior towards Goldfinger’s Korean henchman Oddjob.
The Telegraph also reported that misogynistic and homophobic language will stay.
The new editions will contain a preface that 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.”
All changes were approved by Fleming himself, the publisher noted.
“We at Ian Fleming Publications reviewed the text of the original Bond books and decided our best course of action was to follow Ian’s lead. We have made changes to Live and Let Die that he himself authorised,” the statement continued.
“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. We encourage people to read the books for themselves when the new paperbacks are published in April.”
The announcement follows Penguin Random House’s planned revision of several Roald Dahl novels, which sparked backlash and accusations of censorship. The publishing house says it will continue issuing “classic” versions of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and others in addition to the updated versions.