Roald Dahl Book 2022 Revisions

Roald Dahl Book Revisions

Updated Feb 21, 2023 at 12:57PM EST by Zach.

Added Feb 19, 2023 at 12:18PM EST by Don.

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Overview

Roald Dahl Book Revisions, also known as Roald Dahl Rewritten Books and Roald Dahl Book Edits, refers to various adaptations made to the works of the late British novelist Roald Dahl, known for authoring many best-selling children's books, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach and Matilda. The language in his books was edited by the publisher Puffin after being reviewed by sensitivity readers, which aimed to make the books better suited for modern audiences. Edits included replacing or removing words like "ugly" and "fat" from the novels or deleting entire passages that could be seen as offensive. After the changes were publicized in mid-Februrary 2023, discussions and debates erupted online between those who argued in favor of the edits as a positive change to reflect modern sensibilities and others who criticized the move as posthumous censorship of the author's work.

Background

On February 17th, 2023, the conservative British newspaper The Telegraph[1] published an article titled "The Rewriting of Roald Dahl," which reviewed changes made by Puffin to 10 of Dahl's books. The Telegraph led with the headline "Augustus Gloop is no longer fat and the Oompa-Loompas have gone gender-neutral" in posts made to its Twitter[9][10] account on February 17th.

Part of the article included multiple charts that showed original words and phrases in Dahl's various books compared to the edits made in the 2022 editions (examples shown below).


THE WITCHES "Don't be foolish," my grandmother said. "You can't go round pulling the hair of every lady you meet, even if she is wearing gloves. Just you try it and see what happens." 2001 EDITION Even if she is working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. THE WITCHES 2001 EDITION "Don't be foolish," my grandmother said. "Besides, there are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that." 2001 EDITION 2022 EDITION Even if she is working as a top scientist or running a business MATILDA 2022 EDITION She went to nineteenth century estates with Jane Austen. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and California with John Steinbeck. 2022 EDITION Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 2001 Like all extremely old people, he Like most extremely old people, was delicate and weak he was delicate and weak "Tell Charlie about that crazy Indian prince," said Grandma Josephine "You mean Prince Pondicherry?" said Grandpa Joe, and he began chuckling with laughter. "Completely dotty, said Grandpa George. "But very rich," said Grandma Georgina "Prince Pondicherry wrote a letter to Mr Willy Wonka" "The crazy prince" A nine-year-old boy who was so enormously fat he looked as though he had been blown up with a powerful pump 2022 Great flabby folds of fat bulged out from every part of his body, and his face was like a monstrous ball of dough "Tell Charlie about that ridiculously rich Indian prince," said Grandma Josephine "You mean Prince Puducherry?" said Grandpa Joe, and he began chuckling with laughter "Prince Puducherry wrote a letter to Mr Willy Wonka" “The prince" A nine-year-old boy who was so enormous he looked as though he had been blown up with a powerful pump Great folds bulged out from every part of his body, and his face was like a ball of dough James and the Giant Peach 2001 queer ramshackle house strange ramshackle house Aunt Sponge was enormously fat Aunt Sponge was quite large and and very short very short One of those white flabby faces that looked exactly as though it had been boiled She had a screeching voice those two ghastly hags Aunt Sponge, fat and pulpy as a jellyfish Waving her fat arms and starting to dance around in circles In another minute, this mammoth fruit was as round and large and fat as Aunt Sponge herself, and probably just as heavy 2022 They were like a couple of hunters who had just shot an elephant A face that looked like a great soggy overboiled cabbage She had an annoying voice those two ghastly aunts Aunt Sponge, pulpy as a jellyfish Waving her arms and starting to dance around in circles Removed They were like a couple of hunters who had just shot their prey Matilda 2001 Mothers and fathers Your daughter Vanessa, judging by what she's learnt this term, has no hearing-organs at all She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling She wore heavy make-up and had one of those unfortunate bulging figures where the flesh appeas to be strapped in all around the body to prevent it from falling out Dickens or Kipling 2022 Parents Judging by what your daughter Vanessa has learnt this term, this fact alone is more interesting than anything I have taught in the classroom She went to nineteenth century estates with Jane Austen. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and California with John Steinbeck Removed Dickens or Austen

Developments

Online Reactions

On February 17th, 2023, a link to the Telegraph article titled "The hundreds of changes made to Roald Dahl's books to suit a new 'sensitive' generation" was submitted to /r/books,[2] where it gathered more than 7,900 points and 2,600 comments within 72 hours. On February 18th, a post titled "Roald Dahl books rewritten to remove language deemed offensive" was then submitted to /r/UnitedKingdom,[3] gaining upwards of 1,400 points and 1,700 comments within 24 hours.

That day, LA Times reporter Matt Pearce posted a tweet[8] remarking that Dahl has "periodically needed, um, revision," accompanied by a passage about the edits Dahl made to descriptions of Oompa Loompas in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (shown below, left). The same day, author Salman Rushdie posted a tweet[7] stating that Dahl "was no angel," but that the edits were "absurd censorship" (shown below, right).


Matt Pearce @mattdpearce www Roald Dahl's books have been edited to stop calling people fat so much, plus other offensive things. This is being described as "woke." I would reply that hardly anyone on here has read unfiltered Dahl, who has periodically needed, um, revision. latimes.com/entertainment-.... edition of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," published in 1 ompas helping Willy Wonka were originally described as Afri om Wonka had "smuggled" out of Africa in crates to live and v cing pressure from Black actors and groups such as the NAAC Civil Rights era, the 1971 film made the Oompa-Loompas orai hair. In a 1973 revision of the book, Dahl recast the Oompa-I fantastical instead of Black and African. Salman Rushdie @SalmanRushdie Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship. Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed. Suzanne Nossel @SuzanneNossel - 19h At @PENamerica we are 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. 1/13 theguardian.com/books/2023/feb... Show this thread ⠀ 5:41 PM - Feb 18, 2023 1.8M Views

Others on Twitter started threads about The Telegraph article and its contents, such as Twitter[10] user @incunabula whose primary tweet received roughly 12,700 likes in two days and included a screenshot of one of the "before-and-after editing" charts present in the article. Twitter user @incunabula's thread continued with multiple charts screenshotted from the article.

Although many were critical of the 2022 revisions, others demonstrated more nuanced takes that acknowledged Dahl as problematic but that Puffin's revisions were also unnecessary. For instance, on February 18th, 2023, Twitter[11] user @AliceAvizandum tweeted:

I will say, by way of cancellation, that I was heavily into Roald Dahl books as a kid and he is the perfect children’s author for Britain because he will absolutely give you a bunch of sinister little prejudices under a cloak of niceness

The tweet received roughly 3,100 likes in one day (shown below, left). Some were blunter with their nuanced takes, such as Twitter[12] user @rblandford on February 18th who tweeted, "Keep Roald Dahl books as they are but have a little note at the beginning explaining that he was a cunt," and received roughly 27,500 likes in one day (shown below, right).


Claire??? @AliceAvizandum I will say, by way of cancellation, that I was heavily into Roald Dahl books as a kid and he is the perfect children's author for Britain because he will absolutely give you a bunch of sinister little prejudices under a cloak of niceness 6:53 AM. Feb 18, 2023 239.6K Views 165 Retweets 13 Quote Tweets 3,184 Likes Richard Blandford @rblandford Keep Roald Dahl books as they are but have a little note at the beginning explaining that he was a c---. 10:52 AM. Feb 18, 2023 1.7M Views ● ●●● 1,853 Retweets 169 Quote Tweets 27.3K Likes

Roald Dahl Story Company Response

On February 18th, 2023, Rolling Stone[4] published an article titled "Roald Dahl's Children's Books to Republish With Offensive Language Removed," which included a statement from a spokesperson for the Roald Dahl Story Company:

"When publishing new print runs of books written years ago, it’s not unusual to review the language used alongside updating other details including a book’s cover and page layout. Our guiding principle throughout has been to maintain the storylines, characters, and the irreverence and sharp-edged spirit of the original text. Any changes made have been small and carefully considered."

News Media Coverage

On February 18th, 2023, the AV Club[5] published an article titled "Fans react to publisher efforts to edit in a kinder, gentler Roald Dahl," which reported that Dahl himself had changed descriptions of the Oompa-Loompa characters as African pygmies in the first edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the 1970s, after being persuaded by a statement from the NAACP.[6]

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Z_2
Z_2

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose, and a crooked mouth, and a double chin, and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely.” – Roald Dahl

THESE people are hideous.

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