Roald Dahl books edited to use ‘offensive’ language

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Roald Dahl in 1980
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The English publisher Puffin and the Roald Dahl Story Company have had parts of Roald Dahl’s children’s books rewritten, reports the Daily Telegraph. The changes mainly concern the descriptions of characters from the children’s books.

For example, the words “fat” and “ugly” have been omitted in the descriptions of Caspar Slok from Charlie and the chocolate factory and Mrs. Griezel. Some characterizations have also been made gender neutral. The Oompa Loompas are now called “little people” instead of “little men”.

The publisher does this to ensure that the books can also be “read by everyone today”. According to British media, several hundred adjustments have been made.

Witches with wigs

In addition to omitting and changing descriptions, some nuances have been made in some places. For example, in the book The Witches, it was explained that witches wear wigs, but are actually bald. Now added: “There could be a lot of other reasons why women wear wigs and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.”

Sensitivity readers were used to go through the entire oeuvre. The Roald Dahl Story Company says changes that resulted are “small, and carefully considered.” According to the organization, it is also not uncommon to revise language use with the new printing of books.

Previously, all the language used in the books by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren about Pippi Longstocking was changed. In the original versions of the books, Pippi Longstocking’s father was referred to as “Negro King.” In the new edition he is ‘King of the South Seas’.

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