Towards truth and freedom

Ursula K Le Guin wrote the following advice to aspiring writers:

“Socrates said, ‘The misuse of language induces evil in the soul.’ He wasn’t talking about grammar. To misuse language is to use it the way politicians and advertisers do, for profit, without taking responsibility for what the words mean. Language used as a means to get power or make money goes wrong: it lies. Language used as an end in itself, to sing a poem or tell a story, goes right, goes towards the truth.
         A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.”

I have to admit it, when I read some of the edits that

What has been done to Roald Dahls work is not censorship. The edits weren’t made to surpress ideas or spreading of information.


Salman Rushide was outraged

Pullman takes a diplomatic stance

Some case-in-point examples.

Ex: (Om hur häxor alltid tänker på att ta kål på barn) “Even is she is working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman”

“Even if she is working as a top scientist or running a business”

“Don’t be foolish,” my grandmother said. “You can’t go round pulling the hair of every lady you meed, event if she is wearing gloves. Just you try it and see what happens.”

“Don’t be foolish,” my grandmother said. “Besides, there are plenty of other wasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.”

It’s valid to wonder on what moral, political, and litterary grounds the edits are made. These recents

Won’t we risk forgetting the man expressed racist and anti-semitic remarks?

The central problem is of course that these are childrens’ books.

The primary audience for these books aren’t professors of literature or free speech evangicals; children are.

Does fiction influence reality?

Of course.


Bokbörsen most sold Bokbörsen February 2023

  1. Häxorna Roald Dahl
  2. Kalle och chokladfabriken Roald Dahl
  3. Matilda Roald Dahl

Lightspeed Engineering hosts essays, notes, and scribbles on design, philosophy, and science written by Pelle Beckman. See the Info page for details. I'm occasionally on Mastodon