Edits of Roald Dahl children stories to reflect modern sensitivities akin to ‘absurd censorship,’ critics say

Oompa Loompas are now gender-neutral, Augustus Gloop is no longer fat, and Matilda now reads Jane Austen instead of Rudyard Kipling in just some of the edits implemented by Puffin Books and the Roald Dahl Story Company

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke

The rewriting of children’s books by Roald Dahl to remove language now deemed offensive in the modern day has been heavily criticized as being akin to censorship.

A review of the literature of the famous British children’s author, which saw sensitivity writers recruited to scrutinize the text of classics such as “Matilda,” “James and the Giant Peach,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” has now been completed by publishers, Puffin Books and the Roald Dahl Story Company.

Oompa Loompas are now gender-neutral, all references to “white” and “black” and “fat” and “thin” have been removed, as have descriptions such as “crazy” and “mad.”

Further alterations have been made to the texts, which a spokesperson for the Roald Dahl Story Company claimed were made to “ensure that Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories and characters continue to be enjoyed by all children today.”

Not all agree, including award-winning author Salman Rushdie, who tweeted to claim the edits amount to “absurd censorship.”

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

Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, which advocates in favor of freedom of expression, claimed the rewriting of books represents “a dangerous new weapon” at a time of “fierce battles against book bans and strictures on what can be taught and read.”

“Those who might cheer specific edits to Dahl’s work should consider how the power to rewrite books might be used in the hands of those who do not share their values and sensibilities,” she added.

Others questioned where those editing historical literature to reflect modern sensitivities will draw the line, warning selective editing is a slippery slope toward effective censorship.

Broadcaster Piers Morgan regarded the move as “horrifying woke book publisher censorship of Roald Dahl’s classics. Almost beyond parody, and as shameful as it’s pathetic,” while author Jordan Peterson labeled it a “censorship scandal.”

Award-winning author Philip Pullman suggested that instead of altering texts, authors who no longer represent the views of modern society should “be allowed to fade away. Let him go out of print.”

Actor Brian Cox called the alterations “disgraceful” and called for the books to be “left alone.”

“It’s this kind of form of McCarthyism, this woke culture, which is absolutely wanting to reinterpret everything and redesign and say, ‘oh, that didn’t exist.'”

The Roald Dahl Story Company defended the move, claiming: “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.”

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