Roald Dahl’s children’s novels have undergone changes that have drawn censure from writers, organizations, and some fans online. The Roald Dahl Story Company and the books’ publisher, Puffin Books, agreed on the alterations, and they were implemented by Inclusive Minds, a sensitivity group for children’s books, according to the Daily Telegraph, which broke the news of them first.
Dahl was the author behind such famous works as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda,” and “The Witches.” The purpose of the changes is to ensure that Dahl’s works “can continue to be enjoyed by all today,” Puffin told the Telegraph.
Descriptions of characters as “fat,” “ugly,” and “crazy” have been removed from the works in an attempt to bolster body-positivity and more sensitive depictions of mental health.
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Some gendered descriptions have also been removed from the texts, changing what had previously been references to “boys and girls” as “people” or “children,” reported the Telegraph, which also said that a previous description of the character Miss Trunchbull in “Matilda” as a “most formidable female” has been changed to a “most formidable woman.” In addition, additional passages that weren’t penned by Dahl were added, according to the publication.
“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,'” said the Telegraph.
Both Puffin Publications and the Roald Dahl Story Company have been contacted by CBS News for comment. Both readers and literary heavyweights have been criticizing the alterations.
Author Salman Rushdie, who last summer, wrote on Twitter, “Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship.”