After much controversy Penguin this week revealed more details about the Roald Dahl Classic Collection, which will keep the original works in print after Puffin’s changes to new editions came under scrutiny last year.

The Roald Dahl Classic Collection will publish on 30th January 2024, will feature 20 books including 15 of the author’s most popular novels including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and Matilda as well as three poetry collections: Revolting Rhymes; Dirty Beasts; Rhyme Stew, and two autobiographical works, Boy and Going Solo.

Each book has a new cover featuring Quentin Blake’s illustrations and archive material specifically sourced for this collection by the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre “offering readers an insight into Roald Dahl’s writing process over the years” Penguin said. Excerpts from first drafts, letters to editors and notebook entries will also be accompanied by archivist’s commentary to show how stories and characters began and evolved.

The new editions will publish in paperback at £7.99 per title and will also be available in audiobook and e-book. The Roald Dahl Classic Collection reinstates the versions of Dahl’s books that we published before the 2022 Puffin editions but will retain “some historical edits to the original texts made by Dahl in his lifetime and by his estate and publishers since his death”, Penguin said.

It explained: “Like many authors, Roald Dahl’s work has been edited through the years, including during his own lifetime to adjust spelling and grammar, to standardise this across titles and very occasionally to remove racist, misogynistic or outdated language. This was done by Roald Dahl himself during his lifetime and by Puffin in partnership with his estate, the Roald Dahl Story Company, since his death.”

The publisher emphasised it has “listened to all sides in the debate around [Dahl’s] books and reflected carefully on the issues", adding: “The Roald Dahl Classic Collection published under the Penguin imprint acknowledges the importance of keeping Roald Dahl’s classic texts in print. They complement the 2022 Puffin editions, which are aimed at young readers who may be reading independently for the first time.”

In February 2023, Puffin defended what it said were “minimal” changes to the text of Roald Dahl’s books after the Telegraph revealed changes had been made, primarily around language related to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race. New sentences not written by the author were also inserted into the books. The revelation prompted an outpouring of criticism from the likes of Salman Rushdie, who called it “absurd censorship". Days later Puffin announced plans to keep Dahl’s “classic” texts in print and offer readers a choice of both options. Penguin said the new collection “will take its place in our wide range of publishing, giving readers the choice of how to experience the world of Roald Dahl” highlighting the publisher’s 2022 Puffin books for young independent readers as well as full-colour board and novelty books for pre-schoolers, the ELT Readers series written for learners of English as a foreign language, activity books and movie tie-ins.

Whatever your thoughts, you can't deny they are a beautiful thing and we for one will be adding these to our bookselves.