I’m not a fan of rewriting literature. Even for kids.
Apparently, Puffin Books has been changing language in Roald Dahl’s books to make them more acceptable for today’s culture. Here’s an excerpt from a NBC News story called “Critics blast ‘absurd’ rewrites of Roald Dahl’s children’s books:”
A half-century after being published, several children’s books by world-famous British author Roald Dahl are being revised to change language that may be offensive to some, sparking accusations of censorship.
Some words related to weight, gender and race were omitted or replaced.
The “enormously fat” 9-year-old boy in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” became “enormous,” and the “Cloud-Men” from “James and the Giant Peach” became “Cloud-People.”
Britain’s Telegraph newspaper first reported the changes Friday, laying out the hundreds of changes Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Random House, and the Roald Dahl Story Company made to the books since 2020, even adding paragraphs never written by the late Dahl.
Award-winning author Salman Rushdie called the changes “absurd censorship.”https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/roald-dahls-children-books-matilda-charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory-rcna71427
I read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” dozens of times as a kid. I didn’t find anything offensive about it and fell in love with Charlie and his quirky grandparents. I enjoyed watching movies based on Dahl’s books like “Matilda.” I also remember when my son was young, he read every Dahl book at school.
This reminds me of the censorship of some Dr. Seuss books. I had taken a collection of Dr. Seuss books to the local thrift shop prior to moving. I wished I hung onto the books. I tried to buy some on Amazon and I got a letter from the book seller that they couldn’t sell the books to me or they’d face a lawsuit from some outside group.
What are your thoughts about the revised Roald Dahl books? Do you think it’s okay to update books with what’s acceptable in today’s culture, or should we leave literature alone?