Roald Dahl  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Roald Dahl (13 September 191623 November 1990) was a Welsh novelist, short story author and screenwriter of Norwegian parentage, famous as a writer for both children and adults.

His most popular books include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Witches and The BFG.

Writing

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as "A Piece of Cake". The story, about his wartime adventures, was bought by the Saturday Evening Post for $900, and propelled him into a career as a writer. Its title was inspired by a highly inaccurate and sensationalized article about the crash that blinded him, which claimed he had been shot down instead of simply having to land due to low fuel.

His first children's book was The Gremlins, about mischievous little creatures that were part of RAF folklore. 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 children's stories of the 20th century, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach.

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 Ladies Home Journal, Harper's, Playboy and The New Yorker, then subsequently collected by Dahl into anthologies, gaining world-wide acclaim. Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories and 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 as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and also adapted into Quentin Tarantino's segment of the 1995 film Four Rooms. This bizarre, oft-anthologized, suspense classic concerns a man residing in Jamaica who wagers with visitors in an attempt to claim the fingers from their hands.

His short story collection Tales of the Unexpected was adapted to a successful TV series of the same name. When the stock of Dahl's own original stories was exhausted, the series continued by adapting stories by authors that were written in Dahl's style, including the American writers John Collier and Stanley Ellin.

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.

For a brief, relatively unsuccessful period in the 1960s, Dahl wrote screenplays. Two of his screenplays – the James Bond film You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – were adaptations of novels by Ian Fleming. Dahl also wrote an initial draft adapting his own novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was heavily rewritten by David Seltzer, and produced as the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). Dahl later disowned the film.

Memories with Food at Gipsy House, written with his wife Felicity and published posthumously in 1991, was a mixture of recipes, family reminiscences and Dahl's musings on favourite subjects such as chocolate, onions, and claret.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Roald Dahl" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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