Monday, April 17, 2023


If you enjoy Wodehouse keep your hard copies. The "sensitivity readers" have been busy. From The Telegraph (UK):
Jeeves and Wooster books have been rewritten to remove prose by PG Wodehouse deemed “unacceptable” by publishers, the Telegraph can reveal.

Original passages in the comic novels have been purged or reworked for new editions issued by Penguin Random House.

Trigger warnings have also been added to revised editions telling would-be Wodehouse readers that his themes and characters may be “outdated”.

One warning states that the writer’s prose has been altered because it was judged to be “unacceptable” by Penguin, a publishing house which enlists the services of sensitivity readers.

The disclaimer printed on the opening pages of the 2023 reissue of Thank you, Jeeves states: “Please be aware that this book was published in the 1930s and contains language, themes and characterisations which you may find outdated.

“In the present edition we have sought to edit, minimally, words that we regard as unacceptable to present-day readers.” ....

The Telegraph can reveal that edits have also been made to the 2022 edition of Right Ho, Jeeves, which carries the same disclaimer warning the reader of outdated content, and stating that changes have been made to Wodehouse’s original text. ....

In Thank You, Jeeves, whose plot hinges on the performance of a minstrel troupe, numerous racial terms have been removed or altered, both in dialogue spoken by the characters in the book, and from first-person narration in the voice of Bertie. ....

It is understood that trustees of the writer's literary estate control the bulk of the copyrights for Wodehouse, who lived from 1881 to 1975, and became noted as a prolific author of more than 90 books, a body of work which is often hailed as the funniest in the English language.
More, from The Spectator: "The trouble with censoring Jeeves and Wooster"

Craig Simpson, "Jeeves and Wooster stories censored to avoid offending modern readers," The Telegraph, April 15, 2023.

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