Censored James Bond books from the Ian Fleming Estate

New editions of the classic Bond novels are expected to hit shelves this spring with racially insensitive language removed.

GOLDFINGER, Shirley Eaton, Sean Connery, 1964

Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Following the news that edited versions of several of Roald Dahl’s novels are being published to protect modern readers from language deemed offensive, the estate of another iconic British novelist is following suit.

According to a new report The Sunday Telegraph, new editions of Ian Fleming’s original James Bond novels without offensive parts will be published this spring by Ian Fleming Publications. The report says Fleming’s estate has worked with “sensitive readers” to flag and remove language they believe reflects outdated attitudes about race.

Ian Fleming Publications claims that Fleming himself was involved in the use of less offensive racial language and approved changes to “Live and Die” before he died in 1964. Most of the changes reportedly include replacing various pejorative terms for black people with “Black Man” or “Black Man.”

“We at Ian Fleming Publications reviewed the text of the original Bond books and decided that our best course of action was to follow Ian’s lead. We have made changes to ‘Live and Let Die’ that he himself authorized,” a spokesperson for Ian Fleming Publications told The Sunday Telegraph. “Following Ian’s approach, we looked at the occurrences of many racial terms in the books and removed some words or replaced them with terms that are more accepted today but are consistent with the period in which the books were written.”

The reissued Bond novels will include a statement: “This book was written at a time when expressions and attitudes that modern readers might find offensive were commonplace. Many updates have been made in this edition while keeping as close as possible to the original text and its period.”

The news comes at a time of heightened cultural sensitivity in the publishing industry, but also as the James Bond film franchise tries to reinvent itself. Franchise producer Barbara Broccoli is in no rush to find a new 007 actor as she and her team try to decide the next direction for the series. He ruled out the possibility of a female James Bond, but said he would consider British actors of any ethnicity for the role.

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