(NewsReady.com) – British novelist Roald Dahl was one of the most famous authors of the 20th Century. He wrote the classics “Matilda,” “James and the Giant Peach,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, among others. The Roald Dahl Story Company is now making controversial changes to many of its books.
According to The Telegraph, the Roald Dahl Story Company, which owns the copyrights of the books, collaborated with publisher Puffin to change some of the language in the novels. The publishing company added a notice to its latest editions of the books letting readers know it takes time to “regularly review the language” in the author’s work to “ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by all today.”
The changes include removing disparaging language toward women in the book “The Witches.” For instance, “the old hag” was changed to “the old crow.” Additionally, “chambermaid” was changed to “cleaner.” In total, there were 59 changes to that particular book — but it wasn’t the only one that was edited.
Changes to the work have happened in the past, but these are the most widescale edits across several books. Though the plots of the stories have not changed, the companies attempted to remove offensive language from the novels. Hundreds of edits were made to Dahl’s work.
Novelist Salman Rushdie called the changes “absurd censorship” and shared a Twitter post from Pen America CEO Suzanne Nossel, who compared it to book bans. Rushdie was stabbed multiple times in August of last year in New York over his own books.
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
Author Michael Shellenberger called the revisions to the work “totalitarian censorship.”
The publisher of the books of the late Roald Dahl has made hundreds of changes to them, supposedly to make them more palatable to “sensitive” audiences. This is totalitarian censorship and should be broadly condemned by authors & publishers. https://t.co/ysXBzdgrDR
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) February 18, 2023
Dahl died in 1990 and was a fighter pilot during World War II. Over the years, he has been accused of racism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny. The Washington Post reported the Roald Dahl Story Company said the changes were made in partnership with Inclusive Minds, a company that promotes diversity in children’s literature.
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