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American Publisher Removes Anti-Semitic Language from Georgette Heyer Novel

By Lori Perkins

Sourcebooks is re-publishing Georgette Heyer’s classic regency romance novels, which many consider to be the foundation for the historical romance genre. However, contemporary readers have also commented that her novels often have language that we consider anti-Semitic, as well as racist and classist, today.

Just as Random House has reissued Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory without some of its racist language, Sourcebooks decided that the best way to introduce these classic romance novels to a new generation was to take out the more offensive language and descriptions.

According to The Times of Israel, the new edition of The Grand Sophy changes the name and description of the villainous moneylender and gets rid of references to Jews being tight with ‘purse-strings.’ Sourcebooks made these changes in cooperation with the Heyer estate and acknowledged those changes on the copyright page.

Heyer’s British publisher has decided to leave the book as it was originally written in 1950.

According to The New York Times, when asked about these changes, Todd Stocke, a senior vice president and editorial director at Sourcebooks said, “We don’t want to throw off a 25-year-old who’s just discovering Heyer.”

Sourcebooks has acquitted a number of Heyer’s novels, which they will be republishing in the wake of the popularity of Julia Quinn’s Brigerton series.

Heyer wrote more than 50 novels in her lifetime and more than 20 million copies of her books have sold.


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