February 22, 2024

The US publisher of Georgette Heyer, who is widely considered the originator of the historical romance genre, has modified part of one of her books that includes Jewish stereotypes. Sourcebooks worked with sensitivity readers and experts to modify “The Grand Sophy,“ originally published in 1950, before releasing new versions of multiple Heyer books this year. The new Sourcebooks edition deletes details about the moneylender’s appearance that have been associated with antisemitic stereotypes and changes the character’s name to Grimpstone. He is now described as a “thin individual with an ingratiating leer.” The Heyer estate in the United Kingdom has decided “to leave the books as the author wrote them,” but does not endorse the language or depictions in some of these books. Heyer’s work is the latest among recent debates about revising old texts to fit contemporary language standards. Sourcebooks began acquiring Heyer titles in 2007 and has sold over two million copies of Heyer books so far, but the publisher eyes an even larger audience.