Individual cases were no accident, and now it is safe to say that the newfangled “sensibility” covers the entire foreign book industry. According to The TelegraphAmerican publisher HarperCollins “edited” a number of novels by the detective queen, Agatha Christie.
The detective stories about Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, written between 1920 and 1976, attracted “sensitive readers” to reading. And, in accordance with their comments, language that seemed offensive was removed from the novels, or they were softened.
First of all, this affected all indications of ethnicity, and this is not only the “word on N”. Any passages that describe characters as “black”, “Jew”, or “Gypsy” were cut from the text. The reference to the “Indian temperament” of the judge and the description of the woman’s body, as if carved from black marble, are gone. And instead of “natives” now referred to as “local residents”.
In Death on the Nile, the heroine no longer talks about the hideous eyes and noses of children. In A Caribbean Mystery, the detective no longer notices how beautifully white the hotel worker’s teeth are. From there, a passage was also missing in which the character does not notice a black woman in the dark.
“Sensitive Readers” is a newfangled invention that has appeared in the last couple of years. However, Agatha Christie was ahead in the field of censorship. Her book Ten Little Indians was renamed And Then There Were None in 1977, when Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, Robert Stein and children’s stories were still safe.
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