Sam Ashworth-Hayes Sam Ashworth-Hayes

Roald Dahl, Ted Hughes and the postmodern inquisition

(Getty images)

On the third day after his cancellation, Ted Hughes rose again. Having published a spreadsheet listing his possible association with ‘wealth obtained from enslaved people or through colonial violence’, the British Library backed down, making a public apology to his widow and withdrawing ‘unreservedly’ the reference ‘to a distant ancestor’.

A natural first response to this decision would be to welcome it as a sensible step, particularly given that the ‘ancestor’ in question had died almost 300 years before his birth, probably lost money on his involvement with the Virginia company, wrote a pamphlet decrying

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