“Absurd censorship:” Changes to Roald Dahl’s books spark criticism

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Changes to Roald Dahl’s kids’s books have ignited a firestorm of criticism from authors, organizations and a few readers on-line. 

The adjustments have been accredited by the Roald Dahl Story Company and the books’ writer, Puffin Books, and carried out by a sensitivity group for youngsters’s books referred to as Inclusive Minds, in response to the Daily Telegraph, who first reported the revisions.

Dahl was the creator behind such standard works as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda,” and “The Witches.”

Roald Dahl
British novelist Roald Dahl (1916 – 1990), UK, tenth December 1971.

Ronald Dumont / Stringer by way of Getty Images

The function of the adjustments is to make sure that Dahl’s works “can continue to be enjoyed by all today,” Puffin advised the Telegraph.

Descriptions of characters as “fat,” “ugly” and “crazy” have been faraway from the works in an try and bolster body-positivity and extra delicate depictions of psychological well being. Some gendered descriptions have additionally been faraway from the texts, altering what had beforehand been references to “boys and girls” as “people” or “children,” reported the Telegraph, who additionally mentioned {that a} earlier description of the character Miss Trunchbull in “Matilda” as a “most formidable female” has been modified to a “most formidable woman.”

The paper additionally reported that new passages, which weren’t written by Dahl, have been added to the texts. 

“In The Witches, a paragraph explaining that witches are bald beneath their wigs ends with the new line: ‘There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that,'” mentioned the Telegraph.


CBS News has reached out to each Puffin Books and the Roald Dahl Story Company for remark.

The adjustments have been producing backlash amongst each readers and literary figures.

Author Salman Rushdie, who has been recovering after a stabbing assault final summer season, wrote on Twitter, “Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship.”

“Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed,” Rushdie added.

Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America — a nonprofit group that “stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression” — mentioned the group was “alarmed at news of ‘hundreds of changes’ to venerated works by [Roald Dahl] in a purported effort to scrub the books of that which might offend someone.”

In a 13-tweet thread, Nossel went on to say that “selective editing to make works of literature conform to particular sensibilities could represent a dangerous new weapon,” including that a lot of literature could possibly be “construed as offensive to someone.” 


“If we start down the path of trying to correct for perceived slights instead of allowing readers to receive and react to books as written, we risk distorting the work of great authors and clouding the essential lens that literature offers on society,” Nossel wrote.

In 2020, the Dahl household issued an apology for antisemitic remarks made by the creator throughout his lifetime, writing in an announcement, “Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in marked contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl’s stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations.”

“We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words,” the assertion continued. 

The assertion seems to not be on the web site of the Roald Dahl Story Company, which was acquired by Netflix in September, 2021.

Dahl’s books have bought over 250 million copies, and his library spans 43 written works, together with 20 kids’s books. Movie diversifications of his works have netted greater than $750 million on the field workplace, in response to WordsRated

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