Library – illustrative photo.
Prague – The Euromedia Group publishing house, which in recent years has most often published books by the British writer Roald Dahl in Czech, does not plan any changes to his texts. Helena Frantová, spokeswoman for the publishing house, told ČTK today. In the English edition, Dahl's texts were edited after the intervention of his rights holders, with editors changing passages about weight, mental health or race.
The rewriting of Dahl's books into a language without expressions that could allegedly be considered offensive has drawn criticism in the literary world. British writer of Indian origin Salman Rushdie, author of the famous Satanic Verses, which some Muslims consider an insult to Islam, spoke out against these changes. “Roald Dahl was no angel, but this is absurd censorship,” Rushdie wrote.
French publisher Gallimard countered on Tuesday by saying it would keep the texts of the British writer's children's books intact. Euromedia has now made a similar statement.
“In the past, we have published a total of 18 children's books by Roald Dahl, as well as the set Roald Dahl and his fantastic world, containing 12 of the most popular books. These include Jakub and the Giant Peach, Karl and the Chocolate Factory, The Good Giant, The Witch, Prevítovi, Matilda, Danny , world champion, Mr. Fox, Jirka's miracle medicine, Magic finger, Big mouse conspiracy and Boy-stories from childhood,” said Frantová.
“Currently, we only have the titles Wild Fairy Tales and Velikananánský krokodyl in stock, we are preparing a new edition of Matilda with a film cover for March. We are not planning any changes to the books yet,” she added for the publisher of Czech book translations.
Dahl's books were published in the Czech Republic also in other publishing houses. For example, Academia published Karlík and the Chocolate Factory in 2006. Marketing manager Marie Povýšilová told ČTK that the publisher has no plans for new or further editions of Dahl's books.
In the new edition of Dahl's books from Puffin Books, a subsidiary of Penguin Books, editors have changed passages about weight, mental health or race. Augustus Gloop, the scrawny food-obsessed boy from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is no longer “hugely fat” but just “enormous”. they are not tiny, squishy or barely reaching the knees, but simply “small”, the media said. It's not about little men anymore, it's about little people. The Witch book has a new passage. When it is revealed that witches wear wigs to cover up their baldness, the new version explains that “there are many other reasons why women can wear wigs and there is nothing wrong with it”.
The Roald Dahl Society The Story Company, which owns the rights to the books, said it worked with Puffin Books to adapt “Dahl's wonderful stories and characters so that children can still enjoy them today”. She added that she researched language in books together with the group Inclusive Minds, whose aim is to make children's literature more inclusive and accessible. According to the company, all changes are “small and carefully thought out”.