Even the queen consort got involved: faced with the outcry caused in the United Kingdom by the rewriting of Roald Dahl’s books to remove terms deemed offensive, his British publisher announced on Friday that he would continue to publish the original versions in a special collection.
• Read also: Rewriting of Roald Dahl’s books creates outrage
• Read also: Charlie is not made of chocolate
Roald Dahl, author of ‘James and the Big Peach’, ‘Matilda’ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, died in 1990 aged 74.
Puffin UK will publish the 17 affected books by the famous children’s writer later this year ‘to keep the author’s classic texts circulating’ alongside their new releases.
The case was revealed last week by the conservative Daily Telegraph. The rights holders have undertaken to smooth the language of all the children’s novels of the beloved author of several generations, but who has been denounced in particular for anti-Semitic remarks.
The number of modified terms is vast, touching on issues considered sensitive: race and ethnicity, gender, weight, physical appearance, mental health, violence, etc. A “hugely big” character has become “enormous”. “A crazy thing” became “a weird thing”.
In France, the publisher Gallimard Jeunesse assured that a rewrite was not in the news.
The planned rewrite of his books provoked many indignant reactions in the literary and political world, in the context of culture wars and regular accusations of “cancel culture”.
Salman Rushdie denounced “absurd censorship”.
At a reception on Thursday, Queen Consort Camilla called on writers not to be intimidated by “those who want to restrict your freedom of expression or impose limits on your imagination”, adding while rolling her eyes and smiling: “It’s all said”.
These remarks were widely interpreted as a criticism of the rewriting of Roald Dahl’s books.