Saturday, 8 January 2011

Abridged, Expurgated, Revised, Bowdlerized - Part VI


If you'd climb the Helicon,
You should read Anacreon,
Ovid's Metamorphoses,
Likewise Aristophanes,
And the works of Juvenal:
These are worth attention, all;
But, if you will be advised,
You will get them Bowdlerized!


Ah! We will get them Bowdlerized!

                                           Gilbert & Sullivan, Princess Ida, 1884

The latest bowdlerized edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is in the news. Twain is long gone but this reminds of a famous expurgation that happened while the author was very much alive. In the late 1960s a special edition of Fahrenheit 451 was published by Ballantine for sale in American high schools. Words like "hell" and "abortion" were replaced. Six years later the expurgated version became the edition sold in bookstores. For 12 years Bradbury knew nothing of this. Below is the first edition and a 1970s bowdlerized version.

Toronto's Export Publishing Enterprises did not bowdlerize. All Export cared about was number of words. So books reprinted in Export's News Stand Library imprint shrunk - sometimes as much as 30%.

Ballantine 41 - 1953

Ballantine 41 back

1976 edition

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