The beloved children's author Roald Dahl is the latest victim of a so-called "woke" rewrite, as new editions of his books have been altered to remove words deemed offensive by the publisher Puffin.
The changes have sparked a censorship spat in Britain, with leading writers, politicians and fans expressing outrage over what they see as an attempt to sanitize literature.
The new editions of some of Dahl's best-selling classics, including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda”, have been altered to eliminate words such as “fat”, “ugly” and “crazy”. In one instance, the word “stupid” was changed to “silly”.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak joined in the criticism on Twitter, writing: "We should not be editing our cultural history. If we do, we are vulnerable to repeating it."
Salman Rushdie also weighed in on the controversy, tweeting: "It's almost impossible to edit Roald Dahl without destroying him." He added that while he understood why some people might find certain language offensive today, it was important for readers to understand how language has evolved over time.
The publisher defended its decision by saying that it wanted children from all backgrounds to be able to enjoy Dahl's work without feeling excluded or uncomfortable. It said that while it had made some changes in order to make the stories more inclusive and accessible for modern readers, it had done so while maintaining the spirit of Dahl's original works.
However, many argue that this kind of rewriting is an attempt at censorship and erases an important part of literary history. They say that by removing certain words or phrases from classic books like these we risk losing valuable insight into how language has changed over time.