September 3, 2014
The Guardian prints a lost chapter from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Nick Davies
Roald Dahl fans, rejoice! A previously unpublished chapter from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ran in the Guardian over the weekend, complete with glimpses into early versions of characters that were changed or omitted in the version of the book most of us know.
Maev Kennedy writes that the lost chapter, set in the Vanilla Fudge Room, was deemed “too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children almost 50 years ago.” Much of the book has as its premise that disobedient and gluttonous children are faced with the threat of being made into confectionery, and this chapter is no exception. The tour of Willy Wonka’s factory takes the children and their families (including Charlie Bucket’s mother in this draft, rather than his grandfather) to a mountain of vanilla fudge, only for two boys to inadvisedly take a ride in a wagon that puts them in danger of being chopped to pieces:
“That hole,” said Mr Wonka, “leads directly to what we call The Pounding And Cutting Room. In there, the rough fudge gets tipped out of the waggons [sic] into the mouth of a huge machine. The machine then pounds it against the floor until it is all nice and smooth and thin. After that, a whole lot of knives come down and go chop chop chop, cutting it up into neat little squares, ready for the shops.”
Of course, the naughty children — Wilbur Rice and Tommy Troutbeck, both excised entirely from the published book — avoid being actually murdered at the hands of Willy Wonka and his dangerous factory, thanks to “a large wire strainer in there which is used specially for catching children before they fall into the machine.”
Kennedy writes that the newly published passage was discovered among Dahl’s papers following his death; it was the fifth chapter in several early drafts of the now classic book. It ran on Saturday in the Guardian Review, with new illustrations by Quentin Blake, who also illustrated eighteen of Dahl’s books.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.