A number of Roald Dahl books have been rewritten by publisher Puffin to remove language deemed offensive.
According to The Telegraph, Puffin enlisted Inclusive Minds, a sensitivity literacy group, to identify and change potentially problematic passages in Dahl’s works.
Among the impacted books are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for example, Augustus Gloop is now described as “enormous” as opposed to “fat.” In The Twits, Mrs. Twit is no longer depicted as “ugly and beastly,” but just “beastly.”
Another change in The Witches involved a paragraph explaining that witches are bald beneath their wigs. The new passage reads: “There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.”
Gendered language has also been altered, with the term “woman” replacing “female.” Not even the Ompa Loompas are immune to change; they’re now described as “small people” and not “small men.” You can find a full list of changes at The Telegraph’s website.
Alongside the changes, the impacted books will contain a note saying, “This book was written many years ago, and so we regularly review the language to ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by all today.”
In a statement, the Roald Dahl Story Company said, “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. Any changes made have been small and carefully considered.”
The thing that annoys me about the Roald Dahl changes is how stupid they are. A ban on the word “fat” yet keeping in the rest of the description in which Augustus Gloop is clearly fat pic.twitter.com/1Grm0gMwZJ
— Anita Singh (@anitathetweeter) February 18, 2023
This change to Roald Dahl is so preposterously, laughably pointless it makes you wonder whether the publisher is aware that fiction is an act of creatively making things up. pic.twitter.com/FZ84I3toPBAdvertisement
— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) February 18, 2023