Social reforms because of the Black Lives Matter movement have made their way into the literature. Agatha Christie’s famous book, “Diez negritos”, “the best-selling crime novel of all time”, has already changed in France, but in Spain, a suitable title is still being evaluated.
Politically correct or not, the renaming of the famous work by the well-remembered British writer, Agatha Christie, has and is a heated debate for the company that is responsible for her legacy, as well as for many of her readers. The playwright’s great-grandson has taken the lead in replacing the original French translation of an offense.
For the French dictionary, the term “nègres” has a very negative connotation and in its translations, they were changed to soldiers. “It is not just a title change, it is a whole revised translation inside. We had to adapt the content of the book to the change of title: the island of the Negro becomes, as in the US edition, the island of the Soldier ”, said Beatrice Duval, general director of Livre du Poche, the publisher in charge of translations of Christie’s works in the Gallic country. The word appears 74 times in the entire novel.
According to the great-grandson of the writer, James Prichard, the text published in the European country was published at a time when the connotations were different. “When the book was written [in 1938, in France it was published for the first time in 1940], the language was different and now forgotten words were used,” he told RTL. “I think that Agatha Christie wanted above all to entertain and she would not have liked the idea of someone feeling hurt [by the way she writes]. I would not like a title to divert attention from their work […] if only one person felt that, they would already be one of many ”, he added.
The detractors speak
For the French philosopher, Raphaël Enthoven, the change in the XXI century seems like a scam. “As if the decision in 2020, when we are demolishing statues and changing the names of streets and schools, to change the title of a classic of literature in the name of I do not know what good feelings were the late confirmation of the author’s desire makes 80 years. It’s ridiculous. The result is monstrous”, he said during an interview.
In addition, he stressed that for the avid reader of Christie there is a wide difference in considering the changes that are being made at the level of the true intentions of the author interpreted in 2020. For the philosopher, it would be underestimating the ability of people to distinguish what it is the discrimination of a classic work like the one written in 1938.