A Lot Of People Really Aren’t Feeling The Rewritten Versions Of Roald Dahl Books That Try To Make Them Less Offensive

Roald Dahl wrote many beloved, macabre books for children. (And for adults as well. Check out the nightmarish short story “Skin” sometime.) He was also an open anti-Semite whose works often traded in racial stereotypes. His work has sometimes been altered. For instance, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Oompa Loompas were originally Black African pygmies. (Dahl himself changed that one.) But a new line of editions of his children’s books may have gone too far.

As per The Guardian, Puffin Books hired “sensitivity readers” to pore over Dahl’s books and ensure they “can continue to be enjoyed by all today.” They made hundreds of changes. The adjective “fat” was removed from several books. Augustus Gloop, the rotund child from Chocolate Factory, is now only described as “enormous.” The antiheroes of The Twits are no longer “ugly and beastly,” but simply “beastly.”

Many were minor, arguably arbitrary tweaks. Miss Trunchbill in Matilda, originally described as a “most formidable female,” is now a “most formidable woman.” The Oompa Loompas used to be “small men”; they’re now “small people.”

You can some more changes below.

While Dahl’s real-life bigotry is fairly well-known, his work continues to be read and adapted into movies and TV shows. Netflix forked over tens of thousands last year for his complete works. Willy Wonka is coming to the big screen for a third time, now as hot Timothée Chalamet. The 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory remains a stone cold classic.

Will these revisions protect young readers from retrograde mores? Or is it destroying a late artist’s work? (Again, Dahl was responsible for the Oompa Loompa change.) Whatever the case, the changes seemed to please few, with many marveling not only at the extent of the changes, but also at their poor quality.


Some suggested what publishers and readers alike could do instead.



(Via The Guardian)