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Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm Bowdlerized Over

Just to start let me say I have tried posting a few times to keep up and often my attempts fail because I am so technologically impaired--so please know, my colleages, that I am with you in spirit.

I actually heard about the HF bowdlerizing on MSNBC. I didn't think much about it because TV doesnt allow the time and accessability that the printed word does (for example, I did not remember what bowdlerized meant and if I heard it, I would not have had time to look it up).

Now having followed it in Karl's two blogs and the NYT twice, I grasp the horror in its entirety. The Times reports the origin of bowdlerize--really the original horror story concerning what editors can do to eviscerate iconic works. If anyone doesn't know, in 1807 a writer named Thomas Bowdler and his sister (she goes unnamed) tried to make Shakespeare more PG rated by expurgating double-entendres eg: in Romeo and Juliet Mercutio's line "the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon" to "the hand of the dial is now upon the point of noon."*

What horror this!! Editors beware. Authors' blood will not be wiped from our hands if we Bowdlerize

*This material is paraphrased from NYT Jan 7, 2011

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