James Bond Set - Before Censorship

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James Bond Set - Before Censorship

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 22, 10:35 pm

EP published a complete 14-volume set of Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories in 2005. They have become quite expensive on the secondary market, but Folio Society has now completed 13 of the volumes for the very reasonable price of $75/volume. My reason for pointing this out is that these two sets may be our last opportunity to obtain the stories as Ian Fleming wrote them.

As Wikipedia has reported, they are now being rewritten for “political correctness” reasons, much as English translations of French novels were revised to meet Victorian standards and sensibilities during the late 19th century. I certainly hope we are not entering another such era of censorship.

From Wikipedia: “In 2023, it was reported that Ian Fleming's James Bond series was being re-published, removing a number of racial slurs and references along with some disparagements of women and homosexuality. A disclaimer was added at the beginning of each book, reading ‘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.’ “

toukokuu 22, 8:43 am

Write the warning's first sentence, then leave the book alone, would be my recommendation and preference. Like you, I'm worried that this will now become commonplace, but I've got a serious problem with that kind of censorship / Bowdlerisation. I'm educated enough to be aware that the world has changed and will keep on changing, and when reading something old, I don't expect today's standards and ideas to apply. That's part of what makes such works interesting and provides a learning experience, too.

toukokuu 22, 10:43 am

Why can't publishers just put something similar to what the music industry does? (Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics). Something like Advisory: Some wording can offend certain groups of people. Revising, and changing the wording is rewriting history.

toukokuu 22, 11:26 am

>2 SF-72: >3 Eastonorfolio: Agreed! A warning page before the text about possible offensive language and perhaps also an educational note about that was then and this is now.

toukokuu 22, 11:49 am

How about people just look at the copyright date and use common sense to realize that this was published in the 1950s. Do we really need warnings for everything? Warning: this coffee is hot! For goodness sake, every book published before the year 2000 would need a warning.

toukokuu 22, 11:58 am

I actually think this kind of censorship is counterproductive for the supposed purpose: all it does is try to remove racism/sexism from portrayals of society as though racism/sexism wasn’t pervasive and a challenge for a lot of marginalized people. Publishing something isn’t condone it.

toukokuu 22, 1:11 pm

>5 Betelgeuse: So true. I read this warning on my Tim Horton’s cup of coffee: “Warning! Contents may be hot!” Really?! I didn’t know what I ordered. Thanks for reminding me. 🤦‍♂️

Reminds me of when my family was visiting Mexico back in the early 2000s and we visited Chichen Itza, a Mayan ruin (so interesting to visit if you ever get the chance!). I remember climbing to the top of the largest Mayan pyramid and being a little freaked out that there were no ropes to prevent one from stepping over the edge at the top and no railings on the stairs up to the top (the individual steps were each quite a bit more than a regular step). I commented on this to my partner who had worked in Latin America for a number of years and her reply was that the culture was different south of the US. She said there would be no lawyer willing to take on a case suing the government if someone fell and hurt themselves. The cultural perspective being, you were stupid enough to walk that close to the edge, why should anyone pay for your poor judgement?

A perspective that would be helpful, I think sometimes in the rest of North America…

toukokuu 22, 3:59 pm

toukokuu 22, 4:26 pm

This has been accelerating for the past few years. Personally, I think Roald Dahl was a horrible human being. I have no interest in reading his works, very popular children's books though they may be, because he was a racist, misogynist, and antisemite. All that said, I also think people should be able to read his original works if they so choose. The "changes" (censoring) they did on his books is, to put it mildly, asinine -
In a lengthy report published on Saturday, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph revealed that it had found hundreds of changes across the author’s many children’s books. Close analysis by its journalists revealed that language relating to gender, race, weight, mental health and violence had been cut or rewritten. This included removing words such as “fat” and “ugly,” as well as descriptions using the colors black and white.
Salman Rushdie called the changes "absurd censorship" and he's right.
I heard that Fleming is the next author on the chopping block. Ultimately, we have to make sure to speak out against such censorship, and frankly we have to make sure we're not going to support publishers that censor. At the end of the day, I feel that everyone is a product of their time. 100 years from now there will be different sensibilities, but that does not mean people should not be able to read books as originally intended.

toukokuu 22, 5:12 pm

Interesting thoughts on what this attitude means to young authors these days by Hanif Kureishi:


I do not agree with everything he says when it comes to politics, by the way, but I think he sees the problem regarding literature very well.

toukokuu 25, 6:40 pm

>1 jroger1:

As I missed the EP facsimiles back when, I have been purchasing the FS version as they have come out. My collection is now complete. If these go out of print from FS, expect the prices to skyrocket. But I just wanted to have a nice set for my shelves to read occasionlally.


toukokuu 25, 7:18 pm

>11 sdawson:
Same here. I think there will be one more volume due out this fall or winter. I really liked EP’s selections in the 80s and 90s much better than today’s. Perry Mason 4 vol, Mickey Spillane 6 vol, James Michener 16 vol, multi-volume series on American History and the Presidents. I’ve suggested to them that they should reprint some of these titles, but I guess they think they wouldn’t appeal to the current generation of readers.

toukokuu 28, 11:12 pm

I raise my glass to you jroger

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