A few days ago, the news broke that Puffin Books he was republishing many of Roald Dahl’s novels to remove words that could be considered “offensive” and to adapt the language for today’s audiences. The fingers did not take long to point to Netflix as the culprit of the reissue.
Dahl’s classic books, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda o James and the Giant Peachhave seen words like “fat” or “crazy” modified in their English edition.
As Netflix acquired in 2021 Roald Dahl Story Companythe original owner of the writer’s copyright, the blame fell on the streaming service.
Netflix wants to monetize the rights of Roald Dahl and, for this, it has projects like the recent movie from Roald Dahl’s Matilda: The Musical, which adapts the author’s work. However, the company’s interest in matters such as the reissue of the novels is minimal.
A pre-purchase Netflix decision
As reported by IndieWire, a spokesperson for the Roald Dahl Story Company has stated that Netflix was not the one who requested the reissue of Roald Dahl’s novels. In addition, he clarifies that the decision was made in 2020, before the streaming service acquired the company.
“We want to make sure that all children continue to enjoy Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories and characters. When publishing new runs of books written years ago, it’s not unusual to revise the language used along with updating other details, such as the cover and text. page layout of a book.
Our guiding principle at all times has been to maintain the plots, characters and the irreverence and sharp spirit of the text. original. All the changes made have been small and carefully considered.
As part of our language review process, we work in partnership with Inclusive Minds, a collective of people who are passionate about inclusion and accessibility in children’s literature. The current review started in 2020, before Netflix acquired us. It was promoted by the Puffin and Roald Dahl Story Company.”
For now, it appears that the reissue of Roald Dahl’s work in “less offensive” language is limited to English editions of the writer’s work.
We will have to see if the movies or series from Netflix inspired by the work of Roald Dahl also receive some revisions in favor of a more “contemporary” context.
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