In a major victory for free speech, the publisher of a series of classic children’s books by author Roald Dahl will not face censorship amidst an angry backlash over the plans to replace “offensive” text that may offend a handful of thin-skinned ninnies.
On Friday, Puffin Books, a subsidiary of iconic British publishing house Penguin Books backed off on plans to eviscerate Dahl’s work in order to appease “woke” whiners whose silly umbrage over politically incorrect descriptions of characters including “fat” Augustus Gloop from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and the “ugly and beastly” Mrs. Twit, a character from “The Twits,” were set to be culturally cleansed by hired “sensitivity readers” who would identify the unacceptable language.
In what must have been a humiliating cave-in for some in upper management, Puffin announced that it would now be keeping a “classic collection” of Dahl’s books in print along with the newly sanitized versions.
Today we announce the Roald Dahl Classic Collection, which will keep Dahl’s classic texts in print. Find more detail here: https://t.co/8IdAOcoJfw
— PuffinBooks (@PuffinBooks) February 24, 2023
“Puffin announces today the release of The Roald Dahl Classic Collection, to keep the author’s classic texts in print,” the publisher said in a news release. “These seventeen titles will be published under the Penguin logo, as individual titles in paperback, and will be available later this year. The books will include archive material relevant to each of the stories.”
“The Roald Dahl Classic Collection will sit alongside the newly released Puffin Roald Dahl books for young readers, which are designed for children who may be navigating written content independently for the first time,” the statement read. “Readers will be free to choose which version of Dahl’s stories they prefer.”
Plans to gut Dahl’s books, which have provided delight and enjoyment to generations of young readers in their original form, were slammed by many including author Salman Rushdie who has been targeted for years by Islamist extremists over his own free speech, narrowly avoiding being killed when he was attacked onstage in Chautauqua, NY last year.
“Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship. Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed,” Rushdie tweeted.
Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship. Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed. https://t.co/sdjMfBr7WW
— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) February 18, 2023
Also criticizing Puffin was actor Brian Cox who, among his roles, played serial killer Hannibal “the cannibal” Lecter in the 1986 Michael Mann thriller “Manhunter” years before Sir. Anthony Hopkins became famous for his portrayal of the diabolical character in “Silence of the Lambs.”
“It’s this kind of form of McCarthyism, this woke culture, which is absolutely wanting to reinterpret everything and redesign and say, ‘Oh, that didn’t exist.'” Cox said in a British radio interview. “Well. it did exist. We have to acknowledge our history.”
Twitter users reacted to Puffin’s abrupt reversal of course.
Good. You can stick the filthy ‘woke’ versions in the fireplace – where they belong.
— Alex Napier Holland (@AlexNapierNomad) February 24, 2023
The altered editions must be very clearly labelled as being modified from the original. I wouldn’t want to accidentally buy one.
— Nick Sanchez (@ns4235) February 25, 2023
too little too late guys. you’ve shown your true colors
— Ellen Fishbein (@EllenRhymes) February 24, 2023
There is something seriously wrong, when a publisher thinks it is OK to rewrite classic books. I read all of Dahl’s books to my kids and they are not damaged because of it. If you don’t like the classics, don’t read them.
— Maggie (@Maggie33643990) February 24, 2023
Who knew publishers would be book burners.
— Julie H Wright✝️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@juliew38138) February 24, 2023
Never again will I spend a penny on a Puffin published book. People are reading words that the author never wrote. Who do you think you are deciding what words are acceptable and rewriting an author’s work ? Despicable people.
— Sock (@Doobers119) February 24, 2023
The Thought Police have had a re-think
— John Denny Redemption Arc (@John_Denny) February 24, 2023
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, EVERY BOOK REWRITTEN, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered…. History has stopped.”
– George Orwell, 1984
— BowtieZRcool (@bowtieZRcool88) February 24, 2023
“At Puffin we have proudly published Roald Dahl’s stories for more than forty years in partnership with the Roald Dahl Story Company,” said Francesca Dow, MD of Penguin Random House Children’s. “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 for the imaginations and fast-developing minds of young readers is both a privilege and a responsibility,” Dow added.
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