Charles Spencer criticized the “bizarre” decision to revise parts of Roald Dahl’s works to make them more “acceptable” to readers, arguing that it risks removing the author’s character.
Speaking on the Broadcasting House news program on Radio 4, the late Princess Diana’s brother argued that author Dahl was a “man famous for his offence” as he cut into line.
Publishing Penguin sparked controversy this week after it emerged that they had hired sensitive writers to remove language that might be offensive to today’s readers.
Penguin said it was making the edits, which included removing words that describe the characters as “ugly” and making Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas gender-neutral, so that the books “can continue to be enjoyed by all today.” .
But a host of authors, politicians and parents have criticized the “ridiculous” decision, prompting Penguin to confirm that it will continue to publish the original works as part of its Classics collection.
Earl Spencer was seen arriving at BBC Broadcasting House in London on Sunday to talk about the works of Roald Dahl on Radio 4.
Roald Dahl, who died in 1990, was reportedly an unpleasant and rude man who expressed his anti-Semitic views.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Earl Spencer, 58, hit out at those who censor Dahl’s books.
He said: “I find all of this quite strange because if there is offensive material in Roald Dahl, he was a famous and offensive man, so you are removing character from the author.”
‘People now republishing the old version will actually make a killing.’
Dahl, who died in 1990, was reportedly an unpleasant and rude man who expressed his anti-Semitic views.
He has also been heavily criticized for the racial and gender stereotypes that appeared in his books, leading to some being rewritten while he was still living.
Notably, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was edited in 1974 to remove reference to the Oompa Loompas as ‘African pygmies’ because of accusations of racism.
Dahl’s fans will still be able to purchase unedited versions of the works, as well as the newer, more sensitive versions.
Some of the changes include considerable edits to the characters’ physical appearance descriptions: the new editions no longer use the word “fat”, which has reportedly been dropped from all books.
Publisher Penguin has made hundreds of changes to Dahl’s books to ensure that “everyone can enjoy” the stories.
The ‘terrible ugliness’ of Mrs Twit has been reduced to ‘ugliness’ and Mrs Hoppy in Esio Trot is not an ‘attractive middle-aged lady’ but a ‘kind middle-aged lady’
Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can now only be described as ‘huge’.
Hundreds of changes were made to the original texts, extinguishing Dahl’s colorful and memorable descriptions, some over fifty years old, to make his characters less grotesque.
The ‘terrible ugliness’ of Mrs Twit has become ‘ugliness’ and Mrs Hoppy in Esio Trot is not an ‘attractive middle-aged lady’ but a ‘kind middle-aged lady’.
The reports were met with criticism from authors including Salman Rushdie, with even Queen Consort Camilla appearing to jump in line, telling authors not to be swayed by “those who wish to restrict freedom of expression or impose limits on your imagination.” .’
Earl Spencer was seen arriving at BBC Broadcasting House in London on Sunday after admitting he most likely won’t be at King Charles’s coronation.
Princess Diana’s brother, who lives at Althorp House in Northamptonshire, was in good spirits when he arrived to appear on Radio 4 to talk about Roald Dahl.
Carrying a brown bag, Charles changed into a navy blue suit that he paired with a white shirt.
King Charles’ coronation will take place on May 6 and guests are expected to receive “save the date” notices this week and official invitations in April.
Princess Diana’s 58-year-old brother, who lives at Althorp House in Northamptonshire, was in good spirits when he arrived at the television studios.
In addition to addressing Roald Dahl, he also touched on cancel culture on the show: “Cancel culture is so scary for so many people.”
It comes after he recently admitted that he probably won’t be invited to King Charles’ coronation. on Jane Garvey and Fi Glover’s Times Radio podcast, Off Air.
When asked if he would be invited to the event, the author replied: ‘I wouldn’t have thought of it, I think there are only about two thousand people there.’
‘There’s an old crown hanging around here somewhere, but I won’t be wearing it any time soon, I don’t think.’
However, Prince William’s uncle and Prince Harry didn’t seem too concerned about not getting an invite to the royal event.
He admitted: ‘The whole royal thing… I don’t find it as interesting as other people, you know? I go on with my life… People assume I worry a lot, but it’s just a secondary part of my life.’
King Charles’ coronation takes place on May 6 and guests are expected to receive “save the date” notices this week and official invitations in April.
And while the guest list has shrunk from the 8,000 who attended the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 to 2,000, there is one area where the King has expanded.
The sacred ceremony is intended to be an intimate exchange between the monarch and his people in the presence of God.
But as part of his plan to update the ceremony, King Charles decided to break away from the 900-year-old tradition by inviting his crowned friends, including European royals and rulers of Arab states.
It is not yet clear if Prince Harry will visit for the occasion from his California home with his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.