PG Wodehouse’s work has been given a blanket trigger warning by publishers over concerns it contains “outdated” social attitudes.
Comic novels Leave it to PSmith and Something Fresh, both about aristocratic misadventures at an English stately home, have been reissued by publisher Penguin with a new cautionary note.
In all new editions of Wodehouse’s work, readers will be warned that his novels depict a past with attitudes that may seem out-of-date, The Telegraph understands.
No specific content in Leave it to PSmith or Something Fresh has been edited or identified as potentially offensive, and the novel does not feature any racist terminology.
The trigger warning issued by Penguin reads: “Please be aware that this book was published in the 1920s and may contain language, themes, or characterisations which you may find outdated.”
Changes to ‘unacceptable’ words
The cautionary note comes after The Telegraph revealed that works in Wodehouse’s beloved Jeeves and Wooster series had been edited to remove or alter racial terminology.
A note in the reissue of Thank You, Jeeves explained that publishers “sought to edit, minimally, words that we regard as unacceptable to present-day readers”.
It was also revealed that edits were made to the 2022 edition of Right Ho, Jeeves, which carries the same disclaimer warning.
Novels by Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie have also been purged of words that might upset modern sensitivities.
Racial terms were removed or altered in Fleming’s work, while Christie’s mystery novels like Death on the Nile underwent more substantial changes. An entire passage describing a British tourist venting her frustration at a group of children being purged from a recent reissue.