Agatha Christie’s Works the Latest to Be Targeted and Chopped Up by ‘Sensitivity Readers’
Add Agatha Christie’s name to the growing list of authors whose works are being put under the close watch of “sensitivity readers” to pull any material deemed potentially offensive.
The Telegraph first flagged the changes to Christie’s works in new editions from HarperCollins. Certain Poirot and the full Miss Maple run have been chopped up in similar fashion to the works of writers like Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, and R.L. Stine.
Among the edits noted by The Telegraph are a number of references to race – such as characters being described as Black or Jewish — as well as a passage where a character grows frustrated with children. In the passage about children, a character complains about annoying children, thinking, “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 edited version reads: “They come back and stare, and stare. And I don’t believe I really like children.”
The passage is from 1937’s Death on the Nile, which was adapted into a 2022 film by the same name.
The word “native” was replaced with the word “local” and other terms like “Indian temper” were removed. Christie’s novels that were selected for editing were published between 1920 and 1976.
Sensitivity readers have become more commonplace in publishing in recent years, and the trend has earned plenty of pushback. After it was recently announced that Dahl’s books were being put through the sensitivity reader meat grinder and entire sections were being rewritten, there was major pushback. It was quickly announced that new versions of Dahl’s books would be published, but the original works would also remain in print as part of a classics collection.
Stone meanwhile had the advantage of not seeing his works edited from the grave. He did reveal after initial reports suggested he was involved in editing his books to remove offensive material that the publisher was doing so without his involvement.
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