Home/ News / World/  After Roald Dahl, Agatha Christie's classics to be revised to remove 'offensive language'

After Roald Dahl, novels by "Queen of Crime' Agatha Christie are now scheduled to go under the knife, as publisher HarperCollins is eliminating racist references from the stories of much coveted fictional detective Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. 

UK based daily The Telegraph reported that the ‘racist references’ are being omitted in order to cater to modern language sensibilities. These are being conducted for the revised new digital editions of some of Christie's detective mysteries featuring Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

The novels that were published between 1920 and 1976 will now undergo amendments which include changes to the narrator's inner monologue.

For example, detective Poirot's description of another character as "a Jew, of course" in Christie's debut novel, "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," has been stripped out of the new version.

Throughout the revised version of the short story collection "Miss Marple's Final Cases and Two Other Stories," the word "native" has been replaced with "local," The Telegraph reports.

Further, racial descriptions have been altered or removed, including, in A Caribbean Mystery, an entire passage where a character fails to see a black woman in some bushes at night as he walks to his hotel room.

The word “n-----" has been taken out of revised edition, both in Christie’s prose and the dialogue spoken by her characters.

Notably, this is not the first time that Agatha Christie's novels are undergoing revisions. Her 1939 novel And Then There Were None was previously published under a different title that included a racist term.

A passage describing a servant as "black" and "grinning" has been revised and the character is now simply referred to as "nodding," with no reference to his race.

And in the 1937 novel "Death on the Nile," references to "Nubian people" have been removed throughout.

Changes to the source material come after it emerged last month that Roald Dahl's classic children's books had received similar treatment.

The changes to Dahl's books divided fans of works including "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "James and the Giant Peach," with some arguing that rewriting classic literature is a form of censorship.

Publisher Puffin responded to the controversy by announcing that it would release two versions -- one amended and one classic -- to give readers "the choice to decide how they experience Roald Dahl's magical, marvellous stories."

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Updated: 29 Mar 2023, 11:11 AM IST
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