Roald Dahl’s classic children’s books have been censored as part of a major “woke” effort to make the famed author’s works less “offensive.”
Dahl’s most celebrated books include “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “The Witches,” “Matilda,” “James and the Giant Peach,” and “The BFG.”
The publisher of the books has collaborated with the Roald Dahl Story Co., which manages the works’ copyright and trademarks, to make hundreds of alterations.
The “woke” reworking is being undertaken in order not to offend anyone with Dahl’s original works.
The Roald Dahl Story Co. admitted they had worked with the far-left group Inclusive Minds, The Washington Post reported.
Inclusive Minds monitors children’s literature for inclusion, diversity, and accessibility.
The effort involves, in some cases, completely removing “offensive” words such as “woman,” “mother,” and “father.”
The Telegraph highlighted some of the changes made to Dahl’s books.
The newspaper’s report led author Salman Rushdie, himself the subject of an Iranian death warrant for his work, to tweet, “Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship.
“Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.”
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
The Roald Dahl Story Co. argued that the changes were “small and carefully considered.”
The company insists that the goal is “to ensure that Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories and characters continue to be enjoyed by all children today.”
Their statement added, “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.”
Some of the changes implemented by the publisher include the following:
In “The Twits”: “Have you ever seen a woman with an uglier face than that” became “Have you ever seen anyone with an uglier face than that.”
“Oh do shut up, you old hag” became “Oh do shut up, you old crow.”
In “The Witches,” the following sentences were removed:
- I do not wish to speak badly about women. Most women are lovely.
- “How horrid!” “Disgusting,” my grandmother said.
- When an actress wears a wig, or if you or I were to wear a wig, we would be putting it on over our own hair, but a witch has to put it straight on to her naked scalp.
In “Matilda,” “mothers and fathers” became “parents.”
“She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling,” became “She went to nineteenth-century estates with Jane Austen. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and California with John Steinbeck.”
In “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” this sentence was entirely removed: “Mike Teavee himself had no less than eighteen toy pistols of various sizes hanging from belts around his body, and every now and again he would leap up into the air and fire off half a dozen rounds from one or another of these weapons.”
This sentence was also removed: “The Oompa-Loompas spent every moment of their days climbing through the treetops.”
In “The BFG,” the word “black” was consistently replaced by the word “dark” in sentences such as “It was something black,” “It was something tall and black,” and “Something very tall and very black and very thin.”