Publisher Puffin has hired a team of sensitivity readers to make massive changes to several of Roald Dahl's children's books in an effort to make them align with the times.
According to The Telegraph, the most notable changes will be made to the physical descriptions of characters that could now be deemed offensive. Where as the character Augustus Gloop in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was previously described as being "fat," he will now be written as "enormous" in new editions. The use of the word "ugly" to describe a character will also be changed, such as in the case of the character Mrs Twit in "The Twits," who will now be called "beastly" instead.
Other big changes are being made to gender specific character descriptions, swapping "female" with "woman," or doing away with the mention of gender altogether. The Oompa Loompas, a favorite from Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," will now be called "small people" rather than "small men," as they had been when the book was first published in 1964.
"When publishing new print runs of books written years ago, it's not unusual to review the language used alongside updating other details including a book's cover and page layout," said a spokesperson for the Roald Dahl Story Company in a statement about the sensitivity edits. "Our guiding principle throughout has been to maintain the storylines, characters, and the irreverence and sharp-edged spirit of the original text. Any changes made have been small and carefully considered."
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In addition to the edits, which will also include chunks of new text not found in the original works, a notice at the bottom of each new edition will read "The wonderful words of Roald Dahl can transport you to different worlds and introduce you to the most marvellous characters. This book was written many years ago, and so we regularly review the language to ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by all today."