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Puffin UK have announced that they will release the Roald Dahl Classic Collection, following ongoing criticism of the recent editing of his work to remove purportedly offensive language.

The 17 titles will be available later this year, which will also include archive material relevant to each of the stories. This classic collection will be released alongside the newly released children’s collection, which is edited to remove the potentially offensive language, including references to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race.

A bookshelf of Roald Dahl books
A bookshelf of Roald Dahl books. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It was confirmed by the Roald Dahl company and Puffin Books that a review had been carried out into the loved but controversial author’s work to ensure that they were suitable for children. 

Changes made include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where Augustus Gloop is now referred to as “enormous” instead of fat, as well as the Twits, where Mrs Twit is no longer described as “ugly and beastly”, just “beasty, according to The Guardian.

Earlier this week, Rishi Sunak criticised the changes made to the books. Sunak’s spokesperson stated that works of fiction should be “preserved and not airbrushed”, as well as insisting “you should not Gobblefunk around with words”, borrowing a word from the late author’s work”.

Managing director of Penguin Random House Children’s, Francesca Dow, expressed the importance of preserving the classic text, as well as catering to children. She says, “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.”

Picture of Roald Dahl. Credit: Flickr
Picture of Roald Dahl. Credit: Flickr

Dahl died in 1990 at the age of 74 but he is known to be one of the UK’s favourite authors and Netflix bought the rights to his work in 2021. However his legacy has been tarnished by his antisemitic views.

In 2020, his family apologised, saying they recognised the “lasting and understandable hurt caused by Roald Dahl’s antisemitic statements”.

While His Dark Materials author Sir Philip Pullman suggested Dahl’s works should be left to “fade away” and go out of print as modern tastes move on.