In Britain, Puffin Books was found to have arbitrarily edited the texts of children’s writer Roald Dahl’s books.
In Britain, Puffin Books was found to have arbitrarily edited the texts of children’s writer Roald Dahl’s books. In particular, works like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda” were subject to censorship, writes The Guardian.
Of course, Roald Dahl is an English writer with a controversial reputation. In particular, he is known for his anti-Semitic statements, but is also considered an internationally recognized children’s classic. His books, which have sold more than 300 million copies, have been translated into 68 languages. And since his works were created in the mid-20th century, they largely reflect the realities and ideas of those years about appearance, mental health, gender and race.
But since now the attitudes towards these categories have seriously changed, the publishing house decided to soften Dahl’s stinging literary language. So now August Gloop, the gluttonous and greedy boy, the exact opposite of the main character Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is no longer “incredibly fat” but just “huge”. The word “black” from the story “Amazing Mr. Fox” disappeared from the description of terrible tractors. Now in the description you can find the description “deadly and brutal monsters”.
And in the new edition of The Witches, a sorceress masquerading as an ordinary woman can work as a “lead scientist or run a business” rather than some kind of “supermarket cashier or letter writer for a businessman.” .
Bringing to the current agenda the texts of the children’s writer, whose works were published in the mid-20th century, caused outrage in society. Booker Prize-winning writer Salman Rushdie reacted angrily to the rewrite of the classic.
“Roald Dahl was no angel, but this censorship is absurd! Puffin Books should be ashamed,” the writer tweeted.
Proponents of the edit say such edits are meant to protect the younger generation from cultural, ethnic and gender stereotypes, which abound in literature. But opponents are sure that reworking it in a modern way risks undermining the authority of many authors.
The Roald Dahl Story Company, which owns the rights to Dahl’s works, said it worked with the publisher to edit the texts because they wanted to make sure that “Dal’s wonderful stories and characters continue to appeal to all children today.” The editors of Inclusive Minds participated in the proofreading of the text, which is transforming children’s literature, making it more accessible and inclusive, responding to the realities of the 21st century. Any changes were small and carefully considered, according to the company.
“When publishing new editions of books written many years ago, it is not uncommon to revise the language along with updating the book cover and page layout,” said Roald Dahl Story Company. – Our fundamental principle was to preserve the plots, the characters, as well as the irreverence and harshness of the original text.