PARIS - French publisher Gallimard said it had no intention of making changes to translated versions of children's books by the late British novelist Roald Dahl, unlike the author's UK publisher.
"Change a text today without (the author's) consent? No," Hedwige Pasquet, director of Gallimard Jeunesse, said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.
A report by Britain's The Daily Telegraph last week said that books by Dahl, such as 1988 story "Matilda", "The BFG" (1982) and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (1964) had been edited to remove or alter references to gender, race and physical appearance.
The description of Matilda protagonist Augustus Gloop was changed from "enormously fat" in the 2001 edition to "enormous" in the 2022 version, the paper cited as an example.
The role models of Matilda, a book-loving child prodigy, were also changed to include a female author.
The Roald Dahl Story Company, which manages the copyrights and trademarks of Dahl, said it was not unusual to review language when reprinting books, and described any changes as “small and carefully considered”.
Contextualising and updating some published works could necessitate the revision of all texts, and in that case, then "why not change fairytales?" Pasquet asked.
She said that Dahl, who died in 1990, would not have accepted such changes as "it causes us to lose the flavour of his writing" and that his style was ironic and witty.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke out against the changes, saying "it's important that works of literature and works of fiction are preserved and not airbrushed."
(Reporting by Layli Foroudi; Editing by Bernadette Baum)