Rewriting of Roald Dahl's books creates outrage
New editions of British children's author Roald Dahl's books are to be edited to remove vocabulary that might be seen as offensive, a smoothing over of the original work that is causing outrage and consternation.
References to weight, mental health, violence, or racial or gender issues have been redacted and rewritten, according to the conservative Daily Telegraph.
Thus, the term “fat” does not is more used to describe Augustus Gloop from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The “cloud men” of “James and the Giant Peach” become the “cloud people”.
All changes are “reduced and carefully considered”, assured a doorman – word of the Roald Dahl Story company.
“Roald Dahl was no angel”, reacted on Twitter the British writer Salman Rushdie, icon of freedom of expression victim of a violent attack six months ago, “but it is absurd censorship ”.
Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship. Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed. https://t.co/sdjMfBr7WW
— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) February 18, 2023
Patron of PEN America Suzanne Nossel, an organization bringing together 7,000 writers for freedom of expression, judged that “selective editing to make the words of literature conform to particular sensibilities could represent a dangerous new weapon”. /p>
The review launched in 2020 ahead of Netflix's 2021 takeover of the children's author's catalog.
The deputy editor of the conservative Sunday Times newspaper, Laura Hackett, said she would keep her original editions of Roald Dahl, so her children could “enjoy them in all their wicked and colorful glory”.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak believes that the words should be “preserved” rather than “retouched”, his spokesperson said Monday during a regular press briefing.
“If Dahl offends us, let's not reprint it,” writer Philip Pullman told the BBC on Monday, noting that millions of his original books would remain in circulation for many years regardless of any changes made to the BBC. new editions.
“When reprinting books written years ago, it is not unusual to review the language used and update other elements like the cover and the layout”, affirmed the spokesman of the Roald Dahl Company, underlining the will to preserve history, characters, and “the irreverence and the sharp spirit of the original text”.
The Roald Dahl company has also indicated that it has worked with Inclusive Minds, a collective for the inclusion and accessibility of children's literature.
In addition, a rewriting of Roald Dahl's books is not not relevant in France, according to the French publisher of the world-famous children's author.
“This rewrite only concerns Great Britain. We have never modified the texts of Roald Dahl and, to date, it is not planned, ”a spokeswoman for Gallimard Jeunesse told AFP on Tuesday.
The author, essential in the libraries of many children, died in 1990 at the age of 74.
At the end of 2020, his family had apologized for the anti-Semitic remarks made by the author 40 years ago. The creator of “Matilda” or “Le Bon Gros Géant” notably made openly anti-Semitic statements in an interview with the British magazine New Statesman in 1983, legitimizing anti-Semitism and seeming to find justifications for Hitler's crimes.