R.L. Stine, the creator of the renowned children’s book series “Goosebumps,” disclosed that his own writing had been censored without his authorization.
This news comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding the alteration of classic books written by Roald Dahl to make them more “woke.”
Initially, it was reported by The Times that Stine voluntarily joined Scholastic to modify his books as part of a 2018 ebook re-release. It was stated over one hundred changes would be made to his body of work.
R.L Stine and publisher Scholastic Books are revising the Goosebumps book series following revisions made to Roald Dahl's works, editing some of the language used throughout the Goosebumps stories.https://t.co/3E1LJjFVrI pic.twitter.com/OwMIlCdXA3
— Comic Book Resources (@CBR) March 6, 2023
Nonetheless, the error was rectified at a later time by the newspaper, which also acknowledged the modifications had been done without Stine’s knowledge or agreement.
Stine’s response to a reader who voiced their dissatisfaction with the alterations was that it wasn’t true. Not a single word in Goosebumps has been altered by him. He was never made aware of any of the modifications.
Lindsey, the stories aren’t true. I’ve never changed a word in Goosebumps. Any changes were never shown to me.
— R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) March 6, 2023
For its part, Scholastic released a statement in which it defends the adjustments and explains they were done in order to keep the language up to date and prevent imagery that may have a harmful influence on young readers.
This is particularly in reference to their mental health.
Changes that were made to Stine’s work include modifying the word “plump” to “cheerful,” eliminating references to antagonists making their victims “slaves,” eliminating a reference to wolf-whistling, and erasing characterizations of an individual as looking round or having uniquely shaped cheeks.
It has been estimated that roughly four million copies of the first “Goosebumps” book were sold every month in the 1990s when the series was at the height of its popularity. The original “Goosebumps” book series comprised 62 books.
A film based on the series that starred Jack Black, was released in 2015, and made a total of $158 million at the box office was also adapted from the series.
How “Woke” Can You Go?
It has been suggested that the works of Roald Dahl, creator of such well-known children’s stories as “Matilda,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and “James and the Giant Peach,” be updated. This is so they are more welcoming of people of all backgrounds and perspectives.
These modifications were made with the Roald Dahl Story Company, which is responsible for managing the copyright and trademarks associated with Dahl’s works.
The company collaborated with Inclusive Minds, which evaluates children’s books for inclusiveness, diversity, and ease of access.
It was revealed in a report by The Telegraph that the modifications made to Roald Dahl’s books included the abolishment of certain phrases and wording that could be deemed rude or insensitive.
However, the alterations have been attacked by some people, notably the novelist Salman Rushdie, who referred to them as “absurd censorship.” He also demanded that the Dahl estate and Puffin Books be embarrassed by the revisions.This article appeared in NewsHouse and has been published here with permission.