N-word deleted from the French edition of Agatha Christie’s novel – Books
The French translation of Agatha Christie’s bestselling novel “And Then There Were None” will change title to remove a racist word already deleted from the UK edition decades ago, its editor said on Wednesday.
The title “Dix Petits Negres”, or “Ten Little Niggers”, will become “They Were Ten” or “They were ten”.
The decision to change the French title of one of the best-selling books to “Queen of Crime” was made by her great-grandson James Prichard, who runs the company that owns the rights to Christie’s works.
Prichard told broadcaster RTL that the book, first published in Britain in 1939 as “Ten Little Niggers” from a minstrel song, dates from a time when the language was mainstream.
Not using words “that bother people,” Prichard said, “just seems a very sane position to have in 2020”.
The Masque editor confirmed to AFP that the editing had been done at the request of the company Agatha Christie Limited “to align it with the English and American editions and all other international translations.”
He stressed that “history itself has not changed”.
The word “nègre” appeared 74 times in the French version of the book, first published in 1940.
It will be replaced by the word “soldier” or “soldier” in Gérard de Cherge’s latest translation, according to RTL.
“The soldiers’ island”
And the Ile du Nègre where the mystery is revealed, becomes the Island of the Soldier in the image of the Island of the Soldier in the English version.
The book obtained its current English title in Great Britain in the 1980s, as did the American edition which came out under the non-offensive title “And Then There Were None” upon its first publication in 1940.
It also appeared under the title “Ten Little Indians”, another racially charged term.
The book has sold over 100 million copies, making it one of the best-selling novels of all time.
France, which is in the midst of a debate over alleged racism in the police and society in general, was one of the last countries to continue using the original title.
The decision to change it was not universally popular, with France Inter literary presenter François Busnel calling it “absurd” and Le Figaro newspaper claiming it was “another triumph of political correctness”.
The change came after streaming platform HBO Max in June deleted the movie “Gone with the Wind” amid mass protests against racism and police brutality in the United States.
The Oscar-winning Civil War epic released in 1939 remains the highest grossing inflation-adjusted film of all time, but its portrayal of contented slaves and heroic slave owners annoyed many.
Eight years ago, the popular comic strip “Tintin au Congo” caused a sensation in France when the publisher Louis Delas defended the book written in 1931 and widely criticized as racist.