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Roald Dahl’s original ‘classic’ works to be released after critics blast rewrites

There had been a backlash against edits to Dahl's books to fit modern sensibilities.
Books by Roald Dahl are displayed at the Barney's store on East 60th Street in New York on Nov. 21, 2011.
Books by Roald Dahl are displayed at the Barney's store on East 60th Street in New York on Nov. 21, 2011.Andrew Burton / AP file

The "classic" works of children's author Roald Dahl will be produced in their original form, publisher Penguin Random House said Friday, following backlash against efforts to edit his works to fit modern sensibilities.

The company said 17 of Dahl’s books would be published in their original form later this year as “The Roald Dahl Classic Collection,” giving consumers the chance to read Dahl in "whichever way they wish.” 

“The last few days have demonstrated just how important Roald Dahl’s stories are to fans all around the world, and we’ve been deeply moved by the strength of feeling," a company spokesperson said.

"The most important thing to us is that the stories continue to be enjoyed by all. Puffin UK’s plan to print two editions of the book will give readers — whether 7 or 77 — the choice to explore the stories in whichever way they wish,” the spokesperson added.

The move comes after criticism over revisions to several children’s books by the world-famous British author. It was disclosed earlier this week that some were altered to remove language that may be offensive to some. Words related to weight, gender and race were omitted or replaced.

The “enormously fat” 9-year-old boy in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was simply called “enormous,” while the “Cloud-Men” from “James and the Giant Peach” became “Cloud-People.”

Miss Trunchbull, the principal in “Matilda,” did not have a “horsey” face, and “eight nutty little idiots” became “eight nutty little boys.”

“As a children’s publisher, our role is to share the magic of stories with children with the greatest thought and care," Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said in a statement.

"Roald Dahl’s fantastic books are often the first stories young children will read independently, and taking care for the imaginations and fast-developing minds of young readers is both a privilege and a responsibility," she added.