Agatha Christie’s novels edited to remove likely offensive language


‘Queen of Crime’ Agatha Christie is best known for her detective novels, particularly Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple series. The English writer wrote between 1920 to 1976, and her works are widely read across the world even today. Now news is that several of her novels are edited to remove possibly offensive language, particularly insults and remarks regarding ethnicity, to make them more relevant to modern readers.
The edits can be seen in the new Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple series which are published by HarperCollins. The reason: the edits are made to remove derogatory remarks against specific ethnicity and to make the works more inclusive.

According to The Telegraph, the edits were made by sensitivity readers and they are quite evident in the digital versions of the new books which include the complete Miss Marple series and a selected few Poirot novels. These edited versions are either released after 2020 or will be published soon.
An example of the edits made by sensitivity readers include, as reported by The Telegraph is: in the Hercule Poirot novel ‘Death on the Nile’, which was published in 1937, Mrs Allerton complains about a bunch of kids. “They come back and stare, and stare, and their eyes are simply disgusting, and so are their noses, and I don’t believe I really like children,” the character says. This sentence has now been edited to “They come back and stare, and stare. And I don’t believe I really like children.”

This is not the first time that books, which are considered classics now, have been edited to suit modern readers’ taste. Recently, Roald Dahl’s famous children’s books including ‘The Witches’ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ were edited by sensitivity readers. This was followed by Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel ‘Casino Royale’ among others.

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