The tendency to want to erase racist terms from classic books reminds Donna Leon of communism in the Soviet Union.
Donna Leon (80) is not enthusiastic about the current practice of erasing racist terms from classic books. “People edit the past in the name of values and morals,” said the author of the “Brunetti” thrillers of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”.
The American, who has had Swiss citizenship since 2020, feels reminded of the communist era in the Soviet Union. “Anyone who just marched along on Victory Day was retouched from the photo the next year.”
In recent years, the debate in the literary world has caused controversy as to whether terms that are now perceived as offensive should be replaced, for example from children’s books such as “Pippi Longstocking” and “The Little Witch”. Recently, publisher Ian Fleming Productions has confirmed that it will replace racist terms in its James Bond books.
“I can understand why people want to revise books,” said Donna Leon. “We would all like to forget the atrocities that have been said about us. Many of us would also like to be forgotten about the atrocities that we have spoken about ourselves. But it happened.”
“That’s called censorship”
In addition, Leon criticizes tendencies to avoid content that could be uncomfortable or hurtful for some out of anticipatory obedience. “We now live in a world where one must not write anything that offends, surprises, hurts, disturbs, or in any other way touches sensibilities of readers.” She said she “didn’t like this development at all”: “It’s called censorship.”
Your books about Commissario Brunetti have never been criticized from a politically correct point of view. Only once was there an outcry. When she let a dog die, she got angry letters. “I probably let about 50 people die in my crime novels,” she said. “Nobody cares. But the fun stops with a golden retriever.”
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.