Following criticism of recent edits of his work to remove potentially offensive language, Puffin UK has announced the release of the Roald Dahl Classic Collection “to keep the author’s classic texts in print,” reports RTE.
The classic books from the beloved but controversial children’s author have been rewritten to suit the sensibilities of a modern audience.
The Roald Dahl Story Company and Puffin Books reviewed Dahl’s classics, resulting in the removal or rewriting of material deemed objectionable, including references to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race.
But critics, including acclaimed author Salman Rushdie and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have since denounced the changes.
Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said today, “At Puffin we have proudly published Roald Dahl’s stories for more than 40 years in partnership with the Roald Dahl Story Company,” reports RTE.
We heard last week’s debate reaffirming the tremendous power of Roald Dahl’s books and the real question of 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 utmost care and attention.
Roald Dahl’s wonderful books are often the first stories children read independently, and nurturing young readers’ imaginations and rapidly developing minds is both a privilege and a responsibility.
We also recognize the importance of keeping Dahl’s classic text in print. By making both Puffin and Penguin editions available, give readers the choice to decide how to experience the magical and wondrous stories of Roald Dahl.
“Roald Dahl once said: ‘If my books can help children become readers, then I feel I have accomplished something important’. At Puffin, we’ll keep pursuing that ambition for as long as we make books”, reports RTE.
The publisher has confirmed that 17 of Dahl’s titles will be published under the Penguin logo, including archival material relating to each story, and will be available later this year.
The Roald Dahl Classics collection will come with new Puffin Roald Dahl books for young readers, and readers will be free to choose which version of Dahl’s stories they like best.
Dahl died in 1990 at the age of 74, but he regularly tops lists of the country’s favourite writers. But his legacy has been marked by his anti-Semitic views.
In 2020, his family apologized, saying that they recognised “lasting and understandable hurt caused by Roald Dahl’s anti-semitic statements”, reports RTE.
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