“In the version first published, [the Oompa-Loompas were] a tribe of 3,000 amiable black pygmies who have been imported by Mr. Willy Wonka from ‘the very deepest and darkest part of the African jungle where no white man had been before.’
Mr. Wonka keeps them in the factory, where they have replaced the sacked white workers. Wonka’s little slaves are delighted with their new circumstances, and particularly with their diet of chocolate. Before they lived on green caterpillars, beetles, eucalyptus leaves, ‘and the bark of the bong-bong tree.'”
Dahl’s editors “saw the story as essentially Victorian in character – a ‘very English fantasy'” so they disregarded any racist misgivings about the story. Indeed, when the book first appeared in the United States in 1964 it was regarded with only acclaim and enthusiasm.
The news in 1970 that there was to be a film of the book drew the attention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to the work and they said the importation of the Oompa Loompas to the factory had overtones of slavery.
Dahl insisted there was no racist intent behind the Oompa Loompas but also said he found himself sympathising with the NAACP. As a result, he rewrote them in time for the second US edition as white hippyish dwarves hailing from an invented place, “Loompaland”.
(S): 8.5x11 in
(M) 24x36 in
(L) 30x40 in
(XL) 60x40 in
Printed on High Quality Archival Metallic Paper.
Hand signed and numbered.
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