The Conversation August 18, 2023 by Dan Dixon

This year, there has been some controversy about the rewriting of passages from authors such as Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie with the aim of removing potentially offensive material. Some publishers have also adopted the precautionary measure of adding content warnings and disclaimers to books by Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Raymond Chandler and P.G. Wodehouse

…In an ordinary setting, a reader who finds a book disagreeable can put that book down, or not pick it up in the first place. An author might also consider such consequences when writing a book.

But if the moral authority to make these decisions on behalf of an audience is sourced from the imperative to keep a property such as James Bond or Willy Wonka marketable, the literature is degraded. While it may be in the interest of art to leave its audience in distress, it will never be in the interest of capital to upset a potential consumer.

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