Roald Dahl Edited to Make Language More Inclusive

Image copyright: Telegraph

The Facts

  • New editions of famed children's author Roald Dahl's books have been reviewed to alter text referring to weight, mental health, gender, and race for inclusivity. The changes were first reported by the Telegraph newspaper.

  • Edited passages include swapping the word "fat" to describe Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to "enormous," changing Mrs. Twit's description in the Twits from "ugly and beastly" to simply "beastly," and editing classic text The BFG so that the titular character's coat is no longer black and Mary goes "still as a statue" rather than "white as a sheet." References to being "crazy" and "mad" have also been removed, while "a weird African language" in the Twits is now "an African language."

The Spin

Left narrative

It is very common during print runs of new books to review the language of the text as well as other publication features like cover and page layout. These edits do nothing to diminish the original wit or spirit of the text and, while the original storylines and characters have been left untouched, the considered alterations make the texts far more inclusive and appealing to modern audiences in an age of rising cultural sensitivity.

Right narrative

This decision has rightly prompted widespread condemnation from the literary community. Arguments that Dahl's children's books are in some way bigoted are ludicrous and censoring his satire is nothing short of modern McCarthyism. The review is also an insult to the intelligence of audiences, who should be allowed to interpret and respond to literature on an individual basis, rather than have publishers curate and sterilize their experience of storytelling.

Political split



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