Tom Hanks slams the rewriting of classic literature in BBC interview

2023-05-26 07:00:58

The actor criticized the recent changes to the texts of Agatha Christie and Roald Dahl, in an interview given to the BBC.

In full promotion of his first novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture MasterpieceTom Hanks raged against rewriting in literature at the microphone of the BBC. For the actor Forrest Gump (1994), making a book politically correct by deleting passages deemed offensive would amount to infantilizing the reader. “Let me decide what offends me and what doesn’t! » declares the American, before adding that he would not read “no book, in any register, that would be labeled ‘abridged for modern sensibilities.’ »

For his first book, published in the United States on May 9, Tom Hanks chose to tell the story of the shooting of a multi-million dollar superhero film. In other news, the actor was present at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, in order to present Asteroid City (2023), new film by Wes Andersonwhich is scheduled for release on June 21 in France.

Several rewritten classics

In 2020, Agatha Christie’s iconic book ten little niggers (1939) was officially renamed They were ten because of a title considered racist. This year, it was the publisher Puffin who announced the rewriting of certain works intended for young people by Roald Dahl. The many changes related in particular to the use of certain words deemed offensive and more topical.

So in James and the Giant Peach (1961), Aunt Sponge is no more “terribly fat and flabby”, more “a mean old brute”. Likewise, Miss Trunchbull, the headmistress in Matilda (1988), no longer “a terrible female”, but one « terrible femme »... Same treatment for Ian Fleming, the father of James Bond. Certain adventures of the British spy underwent modifications in the text, due to descriptions considered to be too stereotyped.

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The practice that Tom Hanks criticizes today seems to be developing across the Channel, where publishing houses do not hesitate to hire « sensibility readers » that is, proofreaders looking for words or phrases deemed problematic.

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