Salman Rushdie Calls Revisions ‘Absurd Censorship’

A UK Telegraph report on Friday outlined some of the changes. Below: The figure of Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is no longer referred to as “fat”. Now he’s being labeled “enormous.” What the book described as “weird African language”. The tweets is no longer weird. In The BFGa reference to the Bloodbottler’s character with “auburn” skin has been removed entirely.

Some characters are now gender neutral. The singing and dancing Oompa Loompas out Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were once referred to as “little men”; now they are “little people”. In James and the Giant Peachthe Cloud-Men – mysterious figures living in the sky – are now known as the Cloud-People.

Some new lines have been added. In The witchesa paragraph explaining that the witches are bald under their wigs has a new sentence: “There are many other reasons women might wear wigs, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.”

Salman Rushdie (left) says Roald Dahl was no angel'but that's absurd censorship'.

Salman Rushdie (left) says Roald Dahl was no angel ‘but that’s absurd censorship’.Credit:Getty/Delivered

Suzanne Nossel, chief executive officer of PEN America, said the organization — a nonprofit dedicated to defending and celebrating free speech through the advancement of literature and human rights — was “alarmed by news” about the changes to Dahl’s works and called the move “an alleged attempt to rid the books of anything that might offend anyone.” In a series of tweets, Nossel wrote that “literature is meant to be surprising and provocative” and that efforts to eliminate offending words could only “dilute the power of storytelling”.

“If we go down the path of correcting perceived hurts, rather than allowing readers to receive and respond to books as written, we risk distorting the work of great authors and clouding the essential lens that literature offers society “, she said.

Nossel suggested that rather than revising literature and “playing around” with texts, publishers and editors might “offer introductory context that prepares people for what they are about to read and helps them understand the environment in which they are going to read.” whom it was written”.

Others on social media warned of setting a dangerous precedent. “They’re editing a few books with outdated attitudes, now there’s only 400 years of literature left,” one user said in a tweet. “Where do you draw the line here?”

Critics say Dahl’s books are bigoted, racist, sexist and peppered with gratuitous violence. And some writers have found the reaction to the recent changes overdone.

“It’s good to evolve with time,” tweeted Ashley Esqueda, author and pop culture expert. “Very tired of the people demanding we stay locked up in their childhood.”

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One social media user said he’s “pretty happy to have more comprehensive versions to read to my little one. . . I was appalled at the content of some things I read as a child after re-reading them as an adult.”

While Dahl’s writing is world-renowned – with at least 300 million books sold in 58 languages, according to British magazine The Bookseller – Dahl himself is a polarizing figure who has left a complicated legacy. In 1990, months before his death, he described himself as an anti-Semite after years of publicly speaking hostile to Jews in interviews.

In 2020, Dahl’s family apologized for the writer’s anti-Semitic, “biased statements,” calling some of his phrases “unintelligible.” Relatives said Dahl’s insulting remarks were “in marked contrast to the man we knew”.

https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/salman-rushdie-calls-revisions-to-roald-dahl-books-absurd-censorship-20230220-p5clsd.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture Salman Rushdie Calls Revisions ‘Absurd Censorship’

Jaclyn Diaz

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