Political correctness has come for Roald Dahl, legendary author of such children’s-book classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG.
Dahl’s publisher has hired “sensitivity writers” from a company called “Inclusive Minds,” an organization focused on diversity and inclusion in children’s books, to remove language they deem “offensive” from his books.
The changes will include the following, among other things:
-The words “fat” and “ugly” will be removed from all new editions of books, so Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mrs. Twit from The Twits are now just “enormous” and “beastly,” instead of “fat and “ugly and beastly,” respectively.
–Matilda’s Ms. Trunchbull is no longer a “most formidable female,” but a “most formidable woman,” shedding some of Dahl’s alliterative flair.
-The Oompa Loompas will become gender neutral, as they are now “small people” instead of “small men,” and the same with the Cloud Men in James and the Giant Peach.
Both Puffin and the Roald Dahl Story Company defended the rewriting of Dahl’s famous works. The publisher says that Dahl’s books are regularly reviewed for their inclusivity for the modern reader, with the Roald Dahl Story Company stating that it’s normal for them to reexamine the language while retaining the key elements of character, plot, and the author’s inimitable style.
Dahl’s popular works have endured for decades, from the 20th century through current times. It’s not evident that there has been any sort of widespread appeal to revise the author’s books.
Critics are already decrying the move, NBC News has reported. Writer Salman Rushdie criticized the changes as censorship, as he continues to recover from a stabbing last year following a decades-long fatwa against him after he wrote the Satanic Verses.
Writing organization PEN America and actor Brian Cox also lambasted the alterations.