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Roald Dahl and the fear of causing offence

1 year ago

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Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder


23 February 2023

Anyone else as depressed as me at Puffin’s decision to water down the works of Roald Dahl to make them more ‘suitable’ for a modern audience? Or author Philip Pullman’s slightly sinister suggestion that they should be ‘allowed to fade away’?

He says ‘let them go out of print,’ as if this were some benign and natural process, preferable by far to the inhumanity of keeping them alive, like having a much loved family pet put out of its misery. What he’s actually suggesting is that future generations of people in general and children in particular should be actively denied some of the most imaginative, loved and admired writings of any author of any genre of the 20th century. But he’ll sell a stack more of his books, so I guess that’s just fine.

There is, of course, another way of ensuring your children’s delicate minds are spared the wickedness of Dahl’s texts, via the novel expedient of not buying them, which has the same effect as censoring them but with less, well, censoring.

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