If you'd climb the Helicon,
You should read Anacreon,
And the works of Juvenal:
These are worth attention, all;
But, if you will be advised,
You will get them Bowdlerized!
CHORUS OF GIRL GRADUATES
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