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24th Feb 2023

Roald Dahl’s original works to remain in print without any changes

Charlie Herbert

The collection of 17 titles will be available later this year.

The publisher of Roald Dahl’s stories has announced it will be releasing a ‘classic collection’ of his books with no alterations to the original works.

Puffin UK will release a ‘Roald Dahl Classic Collection’ – made up of 17 titles – which aims to “to keep the author’s classic texts in print.”

It comes after new editions of books, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Twits, were edited to remove potentially offensive language and derogatory words about appearance.

The collection will be available later this year and will include archive material relevant to each of the stories by the much-loved but controversial children’s author.

The classic collection will sit alongside the newly-released Roald Dahl books for young readers, which have been rewritten to cater to the sensitivities of modern audiences.

Earlier this week, Puffin announced that the latest editions of Dahl’s classic stories had been edited to ensure they “can continue to be enjoyed by all today.”

Francesca Dow, MD of Penguin Random House Children’s said: “At Puffin we have proudly published Roald Dahl’s stories for more than forty years in partnership with the Roald Dahl Story Company.

“Their mischievous spirit and his unique storytelling genius have delighted the imaginations of readers across many generations.

“We’ve listened to the debate over the past week which has reaffirmed the extraordinary power of Roald Dahl’s books and the very real questions around how stories from another era can be kept relevant for each new generation.

“As a children’s publisher, our role is to share the magic of stories with children with the greatest thought and care. Roald Dahl’s fantastic books are often the first stories young children will read independently, and taking care of the imaginations and fast-developing minds of young readers is both a privilege and a responsibility.

“We also recognise the importance of keeping Dahl’s classic texts in print.  By making both Puffin and Penguin versions available, we are offering readers the choice to decide how they experience Roald Dahl’s magical, marvellous stories.”

The Roald Dahl Story Company, which manages the copyright of Roald Dahl’s books, carried out a review of Dahl’s classics with Puffin, which led to the removal or rewriting of content deemed offensive – including references to weight, mental health, violence, gender, and race.

They assured readers that “the irreverence and sharp-edged spirit” of the original books had not been lost.

The changes involved words such as ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ and ‘crazy’ being removed from the books.

For example, Augustus Gloop, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is now simply described as “enormous” instead of “enormously fat”, and Aunt Sponge, from James and the Giant Peach, is no longer referred to as “the fat one.”

Similarly, the Oompa-Loompas are described as “small people” with the descriptors such as “tiny” and “titchy” no longer appearing in the text.

The new versions of the books were also altered to change how they portray women.

So, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, instead of something being referred to as “not ladylike,” the books now read “undignified.”

Gender-neutral terms have also been introduced in the books, so “Mothers and fathers” has become “parents” and the “Cloud-Men” of James and the Giant Peach are now “Cloud-People.”