Friday, November 15, 2019
Roald Dahl In 1954 English Literature Essay
Roald Dahl In 1954 English Literature Essay Born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales, to Norwegian parents, he served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, in which he became a flying ace and intelligence agent, rising to the rank of Wing Commander. He rose to prominence in the 1940s with works for both children and adults, and became one of the worlds bestselling authors. His short stories are known for their unexpected endings, and his childrens books for their unsentimental, often very dark humour. Some of his better-known works include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The Witches, and The Big Friendly Giant. ] Early life Roald Dahl was born at Villa Marie, Fairwater Road, Llandaff, Glamorgan, in 1916, to Norwegian parents, Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl (nÃ ©e Hesselberg). Dahls father had moved from Sarpsborg in Norway and settled in Cardiff in the 1880s. His mother came over to marry his father in 1911. Dahl was named after the polar explorer Roald Amundsen, a national hero in Norway at the time. He spoke Norwegian at home with his parents and sisters, Astri, Alfhild, and Else. Dahl and his sisters were christened at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff, where their parents worshipped. In 1920, when Dahl was still three years old, his seven-year-old sister, Astri, died from appendicitis. Weeks later, his father died of pneumonia at the age of 57. With the option of returning to Norway to live with relatives, Dahls mother decided to remain in Wales, because her husband had wished to have their children educated in British schools, which he considered the worlds best. Dahl first attended The Cathedral School, Llandaff. At the age of eight, he and four of his friends (one named Thwaites) were caned by the headmaster after putting a dead mouse in a jar of gobstoppers at the local sweet shop, which was owned by a mean and loathsome old woman called Mrs Pratchett. This was known amongst the five boys as the Great Mouse Plot of 1924. This was Roalds own idea. Thereafter, he transferred to a boarding school in England: Saint PeterHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_PetersHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peterss in Weston-super-Mare. Roalds parents had wanted him to be educated at a British public school and, at the time, because of a then regular ferry link across the Bristol Channel, this proved to be the nearest. His time at Saint Peters was an unpleasant experience for him. He was very homesick and wrote to his mother every week, but never revealed to her his unhappiness, being under the pressure of school censorship. Only after her death in 1967 did he find out that she had saved every single one of his letters, in small bundles held together with green tape. Dahl wrote about his time at St. Peters in his autobiography Boy: Tales of Childhood. From 1929, he attended Repton School in Derbyshire, where, according to Boy: Tales of Childhood, a friend named Michael was viciously caned by headmaster Geoffrey Fisher, the man who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury and crowned the Queen in 1953. (However, according to Dahls biographer Jeremy Treglown, the caning took place in May 1933, a year after Fisher had left Repton. The headmaster concerned was in fact J.T. Christie, Fishers successor.) This caused Dahl to have doubts about religion and even about God. He was never seen as a particularly talented writer in his school years, with one of his English teachers writing in his school report I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended, Dahl was exceptionally tall, reaching 6Ã ftÃ 6Ã in (1.98Ã m) in adult life. He excelled at sports, being made captain of the school fives and squash teams, and also playing for the football team. He developed an i nterest in photography. During his years at Repton, Cadbury, the chocolate company, would occasionally send boxes of new chocolates to the school to be tested by the pupils. Dahl apparently used to dream of inventing a new chocolate bar that would win the praise of Mr. Cadbury himself, and this proved the inspiration for him to write his third book for children, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1963) and include references to chocolate in other books for children. Throughout his childhood and adolescent years, Dahl spent his summer holidays with his mothers family in their native Norway. His childhood and first job selling kerosene in Midsomer Norton and surrounding villages in Somerset are subjects in Boy: Tales of Childhood. The main child character in his 1983 book The Witches is British-born but of Norwegian origin; his grandmother is still living in Norway. After finishing his schooling, he spent three weeks hiking through Newfoundland with the Public Schools Exploring Society (now known as BSES Expeditions). Prewar career and fighter ace In July 1934, Dahl joined the Shell Petroleum Company. Following two years of training in the UK, he was transferred to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanganyika (now Tanzania). Along with the only two other Shell employees in the entire territory, he lived in luxury in the Shell House outside Dar-es-Salaam, with a cook and personal servants. While out on assignments supplying oil to customers across Tanganyika, he encountered black mambas and lions, amongst other wildlife. Family Patricia Neal and Roald Dahl Dahl married American actress Patricia Neal on 2 July 1953 at Trinity Church in New York City. Their marriage lasted for 30 years and they had five children: Olivia, Tessa, Theo, Ophelia, and Lucy. On 5 December 1960, four-month-old Theo Dahl was severely injured when his baby carriage was struck by a taxicab in New York City. For a time, he suffered from hydrocephalus, and as a result, his father became involved in the development of what became known as the Wade-Dahl-Till (or WDT) valve, a device to alleviate the condition.HYPERLINK #cite_note-larner-22 In November 1962, Olivia Dahl died of measles encephalitis at age seven. Dahl subsequently became a proponent of immunization and dedicated his 1982 book The BFG to his deceased daughter. In 1965, wife Patricia Neal suffered three burst cerebral aneurysms while pregnant with their fifth child, Lucy; Dahl took control of her rehabilitation and she eventually relearned to talk and walk, and even returned to her acting career. Following a divorce from Neal in 1983, Dahl married Felicity Liccy Crosland the same year at Brixton town hall, and with whom he was in a relationship before that. According to a biographer, Donald Sturrock, Liccy gave up her job and moved into his home, Gipsy House, with Roald and his children. He is the father of the author Tessa Dahl, grandfather of author, cookbook writer, and former model Sophie Dahl and father-in-law to actor Julian Holloway (son of actor Stanley Holloway). Death and legacy Dahls gravestone Roald Dahl died on 23 November 1990, at the age of 74 of a blood disease, myelodysplastic syndrome, in Oxford, and was buried in the cemetery at St. Peter and St. PaulHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter_and_St._Pauls_ChurchHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter_and_St._Pauls_Churchs Church in Great Missenden. According to his granddaughter, the family gave him a sort of Viking funeral. He was buried with his snooker cues, some very good burgundy, chocolates, HB pencils and a power saw. In his honour, the Roald Dahl ChildrenHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahl_Childrens_GalleryHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahl_Childrens_Gallerys Gallery was opened at Buckinghamshire County Museum in nearby Aylesbury. In 2002, one of Cardiff Bays modern landmarks, the historic Oval Basin plaza, was re-christened Roald Dahl Plass. Plass means place or square in Norwegian, referring to the acclaimed late writers Norwegian roots. There have also been calls from the public for a permanent statue of him to be erected in the city Dahls charitable commitments in the fields of neurology and haematology have been continued by his widow since his death, through Roald Dahls Marvellous Childrens Charity, formerly known as the Roald Dahl Foundation. In June 2005, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre opened in Great Missenden to celebrate the work of Roald Dahl and advance his work in literacy education. In 2008, the UK charity Booktrust and ChildrenHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childrens_LaureateHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childrens_Laureates Laureate Michael Rosen inaugurated The Roald Dahl Funny Prize, an annual award to authors of humorous childrens fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked Roald Dahl sixteenth on their list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. On 14 September 2009 (the day after what would have been Dahls 93rd birthday) the first blue plaque in his honour was unveiled in Llandaff, Cardiff. Rather than commemorating his place of birth, however, the plaque was erected on the wall of the former sweet shop (and site of The Great Mouse Plot of 1924) that features in the first part of his autobiography Boy. It was unveiled by his widow Felicity and son Theo. In his honour, Gibraltar Post issued a set of four stamps in 2010 featuring Quentin Blakes original illustrations for four of the childrens books written by Dahl during his long career; The BFG, The Twits, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda. Roald Dahl Day The anniversary of Dahls birthday on 13 September is celebrated as Roald Dahl Writing Roald Dahls story The Devious Bachelor was illustrated by Frederick Siebel when it was published in CollierHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colliers_WeeklyHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colliers_Weeklys (September 1953). Dahls first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was A Piece Of Cake. The story, about his wartime adventures, was bought by The Saturday Evening Post for $1000 and published under the title Shot Down Over Libya. The shot down title was inaccurate, as he simply ran out of fuel. His first childrens book was The Gremlins, about mischievous little creatures that were part of RAF folklore. All the RAF pilots blamed the gremlins for all the problems with the plane. The book was commissioned by Walt Disney for a film that was never made, and published in 1943. Dahl went on to create some of the best-loved childrens stories of the 20th century, such as Charlie and the Chocolate HYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_and_the_Chocolate_FactoryFactory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and Georges Marvellous Medicine. He also had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise ending. Many were originally written for American magazines such as CollierHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colliers_WeeklyHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colliers_Weeklys, Ladies Home Journal, HarperHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpers_MagazineHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harpers_Magazines, Playboy and The New Yorker. Works such as Kiss Kiss subsequently collected Dahls stories into anthologies, gaining worldwide acclaim. Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories; they have appeared in numerous collections, some only being published in book form after his death (See List of Roald Dahl short stories). His stories also brought him three Edgar Awards: in 1954, for the collection Someone Like You; in 1959, for the story The Landlady; and in 1980, for the episode of Tales of the Unexpected based on Skin. One of his more famous adult stories, The Smoker (also known as Man From the South), was filmed twice as both 1960 and 1985 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and also adapted into Quentin Tarantinos segment of the 1995 film Four Rooms. This bizarre, oft-anthologised suspense classic concerns a man residing in Jamaica who wagers with visitors in an attempt to claim the fingers from their hands. The 1960 Hitchcock version stars Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre. His short story collection Tales of the Unexpected was adapted to a successful TV series of the same name, beginning with Man From the South. When the stock of Dahls own original stories was exhausted, the series continued by adapting stories by authors that were written in Dahls style, including the writers John Collier and Stanley Ellin. He acquired a traditional Romanichal Gypsy wagon in the 1960s, and the family used it as a playhouse for his children. He later used the vardo as a writing room, where he wrote the book Danny, the Champion of the World. A number of his short stories are supposed to be extracts from the diary of his (fictional) Uncle Oswald, a rich gentleman whose sexual exploits form the subject of these stories. In his novel My Uncle Oswald the uncle engages a temptress to seduce 20th Century geniuses and royalty with a love potion secretly added to chocolate truffles made by Dahls favourite chocolate shop, Prestat of Piccadilly. Memories with Food at Gipsy House, written with his wife Felicity and published posthumously in 1991, was a mixture of recipes, family reminiscences and Dahls musings on favourite subjects such as chocolate, onions, and claret. Dahl ranks amongst the worldHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_fiction_authorsHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_fiction_authorss bestselling fiction authors, with sales estimated at 100Ã million.HYPERLINK #cite_note-37 Childrens fiction Dahls childrens works are usually told from the point of view of a child. They typically involve adult villains or villainesses who hate and mistreat children, and feature at least one good adult to counteract the villain(s). These stock characters are possibly a reference to the abuse that Dahl stated that he experienced in the boarding schools he attended. They usually contain a lot of black humour and grotesque scenarios, including gruesome violence. The Witches, GeorgeHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Marvellous_MedicineHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Marvellous_Medicines Marvellous Medicine and Matilda are examples of this formula. The BFG follows it in a more analogous way with the good giant (the BFG or Big Friendly Giant) representing the good adult archetype and the other giants being the bad adults. This formula is also somewhat evident in Dahls film script for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Class-conscious themes ranging from the thinly veiled to the blatant also surface in works such as Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny, the Champion of the World. Dahl also features in his books characters that are very fat, usually children. Augustus Gloop, Bruce Bogtrotter, and Bruno Jenkins are a few of these characters, although an enormous woman named Aunt Sponge is featured in James and The Giant Peach and the nasty farmer Boggis in Fantastic Mr Fox features as an enormously fat character. All of these characters (with the possible exception of Bruce Bogtrotter) are either villains or simply unpleasant gluttons. They are usually punished for this: Augustus Gloop drinks from Willy Wonkas chocolate river, disregarding the adults who tell him not to, and falls in, getting sucked up a pipe and nearly being turned into fudge. Bruce Bogtrotter steals cake from the evil headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and is forced to eat a gigantic chocolate cake in front of the school. Bruno Jenkins is turned into a mouse by witches who lure him to their convention with the promise of chocolate, and, it is speculated, possibly disowned or even killed by his pa rents because of this. Aunt Sponge is flattened by a giant peach.) Dahls mother used to tell him and his sisters tales about trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures and some of his childrens books contain references or elements inspired by these stories, such as the giants in The BFG, the fox family in Fantastic Mr Fox and the trolls in The Minpins. Screenplays For a brief period in the 1960s, Dahl wrote screenplays. Two the James Bond film You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were adaptations of novels by Ian Fleming, though both were rewritten and completed by other writers. Dahl also began adapting his own novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was completed and rewritten by David Seltzer after Dahl failed to meet deadlines, and produced as the film Willy Wonka HYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Wonka__the_Chocolate_FactoryHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Wonka__the_Chocolate_Factory the Chocolate Factory (1971). Dahl later disowned the film, saying he was disappointed because he thought it placed too much emphasis on Willy Wonka and not enough on Charlie. He was also infuriated by the deviations in the plot devised by David Seltzer in his draft of the screenplay. This resulted in his refusal for any more versions of the book to be made in his lifetime. Influences Not surprisingly, a major part of Dahls literary influences stemmed from his childhood. In his younger days, he was an avid reader, especially awed by fantastic tales of heroism and triumph. Amongst his favourite authors were Rudyard Kipling, William Thackeray, Frederick Marryat and Charles Dickens and their works went on to make a lasting mark on his life and writing. Dahl was also a huge fan of ghost stories and claimed that Trolls by Jonas Lie was one of the finest ghost stories ever written. While he was still a youngster, his mother, Sofie Dahl, would relate traditional Norwegian myths and legends from her native homeland to Dahl and his sisters. Dahl always maintained that his mother and her stories had a strong influence on his writing. In one interview he mentioned, She was a great teller of tales. Her memory was prodigious and nothing that ever happened to her in her life was forgotten. When Dahl started writing and publishing his famous books for children, he created a gran dmother character in The Witches and later stated that she was based directly on his own mother as a tribute.HYPERLINK #cite_note-40 ] Way Out In 1961, Dahl hosted and wrote for a science fiction and horror television anthology series called Way Out, which preceded the Twilight Zone series on the CBS network for 14 episodes from March to July. Dahls comedic monologues rounded off the episodes, frequently explaining exactly how to murder ones spouse without getting caught. In one introduction, Dahl ruminated about the popularity of the crewcut at the time and how it seemed to make some men feel tougher. The former fighter pilot dryly observed that .it really doesnt help when the chips are down, though, does it? One of the last dramatic network shows shot in New York City, the entire series is available for viewing at The Paley Center for Media in New York City and Los Angeles. Tales of the Unexpected Tales of the Unexpected is a British television series that originally aired between 1979 and 1988, made by Anglia Television for ITV. The series was an anthology of different tales, initially based on short stories, at one time compiled in a book of the same title, by the author Roald Dahl. The stories were sometimes sinister, sometimes wryly comedic, and usually had a twist ending. Dahl introduced on camera all the episodes of the first two series, which bore the full title Roald Dahls Tales Of The Unexpected. Dahl also chose the stories not written by him to be adapted for the second series, and a small number of additional Dahl stories were adapted for the third series onwards following his departure. [List of works [Childrens stories The Gremlins(1943) James and the Giant Peach(1961) Film: James and the Giant Peach(live-action/animated) (1996) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory(1964)[nn 1]- Films: Willy Wonka HYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Wonka__the_Chocolate_FactoryHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Wonka__the_Chocolate_Factorythe Chocolate Factory(1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory(2005) The Magic Finger(1 June 1966) Fantastic Mr Fox(9 December 1970) Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox(animated) (2009) Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator(9 January 1972)[nn 1]A sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Danny, the Champion of the World(30 October 1975) Film: Danny the Champion of the World(TV movie) (1989) The Enormous Crocodile(24 August 1978) The Twits(17 December 1980) GeorgeHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Marvellous_MedicineHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Marvellous_Medicines Marvellous Medicine(21 May 1981) The BFG(14 October 1982) Film: The BFG(animated) (1989) The Witches(27 October 1983) Film: The Witches(1990) The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me(26 September 1985) Matilda(21 April 1988) Film: Matilda(1996) Esio Trot(19 April 1989) The Vicar of Nibbleswicke(9 May 1990) The Minpins(8 August 1991) Childrens poetry Revolting Rhymes(10 June 1982) Dirty Beasts(25 October 1984) Rhyme Stew(21 September 1989) [Adult fiction Novels Sometime Never: A Fable for Supermen(1948) My Uncle Oswald(1979) Short story collections Over To You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying(1946) Someone Like You(1953) Lamb to the Slaughter(1953) Kiss Kiss(1960) Twenty-Nine Kisses from Roald Dahl(1969) Switch Bitch(1974) The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More(1977) The Best of Roald Dahl(1978) Tales of the Unexpected(1979) More Tales of the Unexpected(1980) Roald DahlHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Roald_Dahls_Book_of_Ghost_Storiesaction=editredlink=1HYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Roald_Dahls_Book_of_Ghost_Storiesaction=editredlink=1s Book of Ghost Stories(1983). Edited with an introduction by Dahl. The Roald Dahl Omnibus(Dorset Press, 1986) Two Fables(1986). Princess and the Poacherand Princess Mammalia. Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life: The Country Stories of Roald Dahl(1989) The Collected Short Stories of Dahl(1991) The Roald Dahl Treasury(1997) The Great Automatic Grammatizator(1997). (Known in the USA as The Umbrella Man and Other Stories). Skin And Other Stories(2000) Roald Dahl: Collected Stories(2006) See the alphabetical List of Roald Dahl short stories. See also Roald Dahl: Collected Storiesfor a complete, chronological listing. Non-fiction The Mildenhall Treasure(1946, 1977, 1999) Boy Tales of Childhood(1984) Recollections up to the age of 20, looking particularly at schooling in Britainin the early part of the 20th century. Going Solo(1986) Continuation of his autobiography, in which he goes to work for Shelland spends some time working in Tanzaniabefore joining the war effort and becoming one of the last Alliedpilots to withdraw from Greece during the German invasion. Measles, a Dangerous Illness(1986) Memories with Food at Gipsy House(1991) Roald DahlHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahls_Guide_to_Railway_SafetyHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahls_Guide_to_Railway_Safetys Guide to Railway Safety(1991) My Year(1993) Roald Dahls Revolting Recipesby Felicity Dahl, et al.(1994), a collection of recipes based on and inspired by food in Dahls books, created by Roald Felicity Dahl, and Josie Fison Roald Dahls Even More Revolting Recipesby Felicity Dahl, et al.(2001) Plays The Honeys(1955) Produced at the Longacre Theater on Broadway.  Film scripts The Gremlins(1943) 36 Hours(1965) You Only Live Twice(1967) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang(1968) The Night Digger(1971) Willy Wonka HYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Wonka__the_Chocolate_FactoryHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Wonka__the_Chocolate_Factorythe Chocolate Factory(1971)  Television Way Out(1961) Horror series hosted by Roald Dahl and produced by David Susskind Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Lamb to the Slaughter(1958) Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Dip in the Pool(1958) Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Poison(1958) Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Man from the South(1960) with Steve McQueenand Peter Lorre Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Mrs. Bixby and the ColonelHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mrs._Bixby_and_the_Colonels_CoatHYPERLINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mrs._Bixby_and_the_Colonels_Coats Coat(1960) Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Landlady(1961) Tales of the Unexpected(1979-88), episodes written and introduced by Dahl ^ a b Published in 1978 in an omnibus edition titled The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Willy Wonka ] Controversies In 1983 Dahl reviewed Tony Cliftons God Cried, a picture book about the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon depicting Israelis killing thousands of Beirut inhabitants by bombing civilian targets. Dahls review stated that this invasion was when we all started hating Israel, and that the book would make readers violently anti-Israeli, writing, I am not anti-Semitic. I am anti-Israel. Dahl told a reporter in 1983, Theres a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity I mean there is always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didnt just pick on them for no reason. Dahl maintained friendships with a number of Jews, including philosopher Isaiah Berlin, who said, I thought he might say anything. Could have been pro-Arab or pro-Jew. There was no consistent line. He was a man who followed whims, which meant he would blow up in one direction, so to speak. In later years, Dahl included a sympathetic episode about German-Jewish refugees in his book Going Solo, and professed to be opposed to injustice, not Jews.