Gazette: Offensive language has been removed from Agatha Christie’s books
Many of Agatha Christie’s novels have been edited to remove potentially offensive language, such as insults and references to race, writes the British newspaper The Guardian. These include passages from popular detective books with Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple as the two main characters, which Christie wrote between 1920 and 1976.
So-called “sensitive readers” have stripped books of language and descriptions that modern audiences find offensive, particularly in descriptions of the characters and populations that Christie’s protagonists encounter outside the UK. Modified versions only appear in versions published by the publisher HarperCollins since 2020.
References to race have been dropped in the new editions. Consider describing a character as black, Jewish, or gypsy. The female figure’s torso was no longer described as “made of black marble”, it was no longer related to the “Indian figure” of the judge, and terms such as “oriental” and “negro” were removed.
Something similar has happened to passages that could be considered racist in new editions of the James Bond books. They have been modified or removed, and they were announced at the end of February. The publisher Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, who owns the rights, has had the original texts revised by a group of reviewers. As a result of this evaluation, new versions have been published, in which disclaimers have also been added.
It was previously reported that British publisher Puffin had altered hundreds of passages from British versions of Roald Dahl’s books so that Dahl’s work “could be enjoyed by everyone”. For example, a character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is no longer “fat” but “huge”, the Oompa Loompas are gender-neutral in the same book and in The Twits the female protagonist is no longer described as “ugly”.
“Travel specialist. Typical social media scholar. Friend of animals everywhere. Freelance zombie ninja. Twitter buff.”