James Bond Set - Before Censorship
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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.’ “
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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