Roald Dahl once said that if publishers changed his work, he would set a ‘colossal crocodile’ on him

Roald Dahl was recorded as saying that he would never agree to censorship. (PA/Image)

Roald Dahl’s comments 40 years ago about “setting up a giant crocodile” on his publishers changing his work has shed light on what the late author may have thought about attempts to censor him .

Dahl was notably recorded as saying that he would be outraged by the idea of ​​censorship after his death, and joked that he would send the title character from his book The Enormous Crocodile to deal with his publishers.

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The Daily Telegraph reported that recent editions of children’s favorites by Dahl, who died in 1990, had been replaced by publisher Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Random House, with the books being labeled “fat” and “ugly”. The description of the characters as such was removed. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.

United Kingdom - circa 2006: postage stamp printed in Great Britain dedicated to animal stories, depicting Roald Dahl's 'The Enormous Crocodile'

The Enormous Crocodile is one of Roald Dahl’s most popular children’s books. (PA/Image)

After protests from writers, readers and even Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, it was announced that Puffin would publish two versions of the stories in future – the original text, and a revised version changed to avoid offence.

However, The Guardian has uncovered a recorded conversation between Dahl and the artist Francis Bacon from 1982, where he made clear his strong feelings on censorship and referenced his book The Enormous Crocodile.

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In a conversation recorded by the men at Dahl’s home in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, Dahl said: “I have warned my publishers that if they later change a comma in one of my books, they will never Will see the word from me. Never! Never!”

Dahl, whose parents were Norwegian, said: “When I’m gone, if that happens, I wish the mighty Thor would knock them very hard on the head with his Mjolnir. Or I’ll have to eat them.” Will send with the giant crocodile.” ,

Oslo 1985 Roald Dahl, British writer. Photo: Inge Jelswick / NTB / NTB

Roald Dahl was recorded speaking about censorship in 1982. (PA/Image)

Bacon said: “There should be no change in an artist’s original work when he has died of any cause,” Dahl jokingly crossed himself and replied: “I hope to God that none of my With writing it will never be the same as I am, lying comfortably in my Viking grave.”

Earlier in the week, Sunak had weighed in on the controversy with a statement from his official spokesman, which read: “When it comes to our very rich literary heritage, the Prime Minister agrees with The BFG that you must speak with words. Don’t mess around.”

On Thursday, Camilla, the Queen Consort, told an audience of writers and publishers: “Please stay true to your calling to those who seek to curtail your freedom of expression or impose limits on your imagination. Enough said.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Camilla, Queen Consort gives a speech as she attends a reception to celebrate the second anniversary of the Reading Room at Clarence House on February 23, 2023 in London, England. The Reading Room, which was officially launched by the Queen Consort 2 years ago, champions literacy and encourages readers to discover new literature. (Photo by Chris Jackson / Getty Images)

Camilla, Queen Consort addressed writers and publishers this week. (Getty Images)

Comedian Ricky Gervais shared a picture of himself looking grim, referencing Dahl’s censorship and tweeted: “It’s got me wondering if they’ll change any words used in my work after I’m dead, To spare those who are delicate and easily offended.

“Words like ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’. And ‘c***’ and ‘f***’. That.”

Author Salman Rushdie also spoke in support of Dahl: “Roald Dahl was no angel, but this is absurd censorship. Shame on Puffin Books and the Dahl estate.”

Actress Patricia Neal and her husband, author Roald Dahl, pose with their children at the hotel in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where they were vacationing, January 12, 1967. The children are from left; Ophelia, Theo, Tessa and Lucy. (AP Photo)

Roald Dahl with his family in 1967. (AP Photo)

The Daily Telegraph reports that James Bond author Ian Fleming’s work has also recently been altered to remove racist descriptions of some of the characters.

Other potentially objectionable parts of the text will remain, including racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language, but will be accompanied by a disclaimer that reads: “This book was written at a time when words and attitudes that are considered modern Readers could consider offensive, were common.

“Many updates have been made to this edition to be as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set.”

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