No complaints about Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes despite 'slut' reference

WAR OF WORDS: Collins Booksellers co-owner Margaret Schwebel says a controversial word in Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes needs to be read in context. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 						            0829book2

WAR OF WORDS: Collins Booksellers co-owner Margaret Schwebel says a controversial word in Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes needs to be read in context. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0829book2

ALDI supermarkets may have rid a Roald Dahl classic from their shelves, but bookstores are content to keep the title in stock.

Social media exploded on Wednesday when Aldi heeded consumer complaints about Dahl’s book Revolting Rhymes, which contained the word “slut”.

The books were removed from Aldi stores, including the Orange store.

Revolting Rhymes contains comical takes on several fairy tales.

The word in question is used during the Cinderella adaptation when the prince, searching for the glass slipper’s owner, assesses Cinderella’s appearance.

While today the word is a derogatory term for a promiscuous person, Collins Booksellers co-owner Margaret Schwebel said the word, as used in the 1982 book, carried its older meaning.

The Macquarie Dictionary defines “slut” as a “dirty, slovenly woman.”

“It needs to be taken in the context it was meant. Why do we have to change the language?” Ms Schwebel said.

“We don’t change the language in Shakespeare because it’s naughty.

“Language doesn’t stand still.”

Boomers Bookshop retail assistant Kelly Vaughan said the word would not prevent the store from stocking the book.

“It’s such a small part of the book. No one’s ever complained before,” she said.

“I know it’s directed at young children, but it’s been out for 32 years and a lot of people have loved it.”

Orange City Library technical services librarian Ros Dorsman said as far as she was aware, there had been no complaints about the book.

“The library’s records show the book has been lent more than 100 times over the last 10 years,” she said.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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