Books written by children’s author Roald Dahl have been re-written to remove ‘critical language’. The edits to the classic books have been made by Dahl’s British publisher Puffin Books.
New editions of the books are available in bookshops now. Passages which relate to gender, mental health, race, and weight have been changed in the new editions.
One example of the changes is in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Where Augustus Gloop was described as ‘enormously fat’, he is now depicted as being just ‘enormous’.
Another example is in ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’. The word ‘black’ has been removed from a description of tractors in the book. The description now reads “murderous, brutal-looking monsters”.
The rewriting of some passages has been heavily criticised by other writers and authors. Salman Rushdy tweeted to say: “Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship. Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.”
Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, a community of more than 7,000 writers advocating for freedom of expression, also tweeted her concerns. said: "Amidst fierce battles against book bans and strictures on what can be taught and read, selective editing to make works of literature conform to particular sensibilities could represent a dangerous new weapon.”
A spokesperson for the Roald Dahl Story Company said: "We want to ensure that Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories and characters continue to be enjoyed by all children today.
"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.
"Our guiding principle throughout has been to maintain the storylines, characters, and the irreverence and sharp-edged spirit of the original text."