Celebrate Roald Dahl?

Roald Dahl Day celebrates the children's author

Washington Examiner

Roald Dahl was an incredible author and a terrible person

Most fans know Roald Dahl as a beloved children's author. Some have even heard of his exploits . Others know him as an anti-Semite.

Best known for his whimsical stories and quotes about magic, Dahl didn't translate the same type of generosity to his personal views.

"There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it's a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews," he told the New Statesman in a 1983 interview.

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Roald Dahl Day 2019: should we celebrate the children's author?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Roald Dahl may no longer be with us, but the beloved author's work still lives on. And each year, on September 13 (Dahl's birthday), his books, his characters and his silly language is celebrated across the world.

One of those characters - Matilda - has been named one of the bravest icons in the world for children.

Some argue that Dahl's creations speak to both children and adults.

However, others note that the author had dark views, calling him a great writer but a "terrible person".

The Claim

While Dahl may have a complicated legacy, the Huffington Post celebrates the stories that we adore - and "the charismatic characters who people them".

Nancy Groves, the life editor at HuffPost UK, writes: "In fact, when kids were recently asked to name their bravest icons in the world, Matilda made it into their top three, sandwiched between Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai.

"Quite a feat for a fictional five-year-old.

"But the great thing about Dahl’s books is that they speak to grown-ups, too."

A selection of HuffPost writers choose their best characters, including The Twits, George, Matilda, Danny, Fantastic Mr Fox, and the BFG.

News reporter Nadine White praises George's Marvellous Medicine, calling it "an ode to innovation, autonomy and ambition".

Aasma Day says that the BFG is "so endearing", arguing there is "something utterly captivating about an unconventional hero and with his big flappy ears and goofy and kindhearted personality".

The Counterclaim

However, the Washington Examiner's Madeline Fry argues that Dahl was an incredible author, but he was also a "terrible person".

As well as being a beloved children's author, Dahl was known for his anti-Semitic views.

She writes: "Best known for his whimsical stories and quotes about magic, Dahl didn't translate the same type of generosity to his personal views."

In 1983, the children's author told the New Statesman that there is a trait in Jewish people that "provokes animosity".

He said: "I mean, there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.

"I mean, if you and I were in a line moving towards what we knew were gas chambers, I’d rather have a go at taking one of the guards with me; but they [the Jews] were always submissive."

Dahl also said in 1990: "I am certainly anti-Israel, and I have become anti-Semitic."

Fry concludes: "If only he had taken his own advice from The Twits about avoiding "ugly" thoughts: 'If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.'"

The Facts

Roald Dahl Day was first celebrated on September 13, 2006 - on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. In its 13th year, the annual celebration takes place around the world. It was celebrated in 140 countries last year.

Dahl wrote more than 20 children's books, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factor, the BFG, Matilda, and The Twits.

The author wrote many of his stories in a little shed at the bottom of his garden, writing for around four hours every single day.

He is one of the world’s bestselling authors, with more than 100 million copies of his books published in nearly 50 languages.

He invented more than 500 new words and character names. They include: Oompa-Loopmas, scrumdiddlyumptious, splendiferous, wondercrump, and snozzcumbers. Dahl called his language Gobblefunk.

Before he was an author, Dahl served as a fighter pilot in World War II, flying a Hawker Hurricane plane. He also became a spy for MI6, working alongside future James Bond author, Ian Fleming.

Roald Dahl passed away from a blood disease on November 23, 1990, aged 74.

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Irish Times

'A storytelling genius' - Irish writers on what Roald Dahl means to them

Roddy Doyle

I didn't know Roald Dahl's books when I was a child and I've never read his adult fiction. I started to read his children's books when I was a teacher, some time in the early 1980s. I had a first-year English class on Friday afternoons. Every other day of the week they were charming and bright. On Fridays, coming in to me after the toxic combination of PE and Religion, they were unteachable little bastards.

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