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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Stuart's Daily Word Spot: Bowdlerize

Sir John Gilbert's 1849 painting: The Plays of...Image via Wikipedia
Bowdlerize: verb – (Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825) was an English editor, who published an expurgated edition of Shakespeare.); to expurgate a text by removing or altering material considered improper or offensive, emasculate.
Bowdler’s numerous and often silly cuts and edits to Shakespeare have immortalized his name as another word for censorship.

‘It seems some people never learn from history: Bowdler did his best to emasculate and sanitise Shakespeare and produced a laughable piece of work as a result. But others continue in his name and Bowdlerize many works, replacing evocative expletives with meaningless euphemisms and chopping out great chunks of text that fail to fall into their peculiar definition of what is or is not acceptable. Idiots; the lot of them. Perhaps these same folk would like to paint clothes on the numerous wonderful nudes? Certainly, there have been those who added fig leaves to classical Greek sculpture in order that ‘ladies’ would not be offended by the sight of carved genitalia. Such prudishness invariably declares more about the minds of the censors than about those they presume to protect from what they perceive, with their foul interpretations, as offensive or evil.’

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