Even from his earliest days, he was a hateful little fuck. He began one prep school essay...
Dahl's editors "saw the story as essentially Victorian in character –– a 'very English fantasy'" so they disregarded any racist misgivings about the story. Indeed, when the book first appeared in the United States in 1964 it was regarded with only acclaim and enthusiasm. It wasn't until 1972, nearly a decade later, that a wide–ranging attack on the book was published by American writer Eleanor Cameron and the political agenda of the story finally began to be debated.
After Dahl and Cameron had many public back–and–forths in various American literary journals (over much more than just charges of racism - see the Horn Book's excellent virtual exhibit to read the letters for yourself), Dahl's publishers decided that "to those growing up in a racially mixed society, the Oompa–Loompas were no longer acceptable as originally written. The following year, to accompany its new sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, a revised edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory appeared, in which the Oompa–Loompas had become dwarfish hippies with long 'golden–brown hair' and 'rosy–white' skin." [Jeremy Treglown's Roald Dahl: A Biography]
"The Witches" is finally a love story – the story of a little boy who loves his grandmother so utterly (and she him) that they are looking forward to spending their last years few exterminating the witches of the world together. It is a curious sort of tale but an honest one, which deals with matters of crucial importance to children: smallness, the existence of evil in the world, mourning, separation, death. The witches I've written about are far more benevolent figures, yet perhaps that is the point of witches – they are projections of the human unconscious and so can have many incarnations.
w0mbat: What is this crap? Dahl was an allied war hero. The Nazis shot his plane down. He was big on Palestinian rights but that doesn't make him an anti Semite.
ovvl (quoting Wikipedia): Dahl saw his first aerial combat on 15 April 1941, while flying alone over the city of Chalcis. He attacked six Junkers Ju-88s that were bombing ships and shot one down. On 16 April in another air battle, he shot down another Ju-88.
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