>Anne Fine offers a personal take on the Tintin in the Congo controversy, citing examples from her own work where she has revised lines to better speak to contemporary sensibilities and her own raised consciousness. P.L. Travers, you will recall, did the same with Mary Poppins, replacing the racial representatives of the “Bad Tuesday” chapter with friendly animals instead.
It’s interesting that Fine doesn’t do the same with her adult books: “I have six adult novels on the shelves, and wouldn’t dream of going at those with a red pen just because times have changed.” Her reasoning seems to be that children read both more intensely and in greater ignorance, that they don’t have a concept of books becoming “dated.” (Thus the pressure on Judy Blume to update Forever to include condoms.) But isn’t it the natural way of things that old books give way to new books? Not that people won’t continue to read a mix of new and old, but what Fine is advocating is a kind of artificial life support for books that might otherwise fall out of fashion or favor. Let ’em.