Rohit Khare (
Fri, 27 Jun 1997 17:16:53 -0400

[I needed some colorful phrases for the current debate on web sanitization.
I found this lone (correct) reference at lycos; mighty Alta Vista found
nothing for 'bowlderized' and mere 7 document on Bowlder, none of which
were right. It did find documents on tires, salmon fisheries, a Czech file,
and the city government of River Rouge, MI instead]


BOWDLER FAMILY. The term "bowdlerize" means to expurgate literature; it
comes from the English family that pioneered the commercial cutting--really
rewriting--of literature. The most famous Bowdler family members were
Thomas and his sister Henrietta Maria. Harriet--who could not bear the
indelicacy of dancers at the opera--anonymously published "Sermons on the
Doctrines and Duties of Christianity," which ran into 50 printings. Thomas
published the "Family Shakespeare," ironically deleting notice of Harriet's
participation in the project. It became the best-selling Shakespeare of the
19th century. In 1826, he published "The Family Gibbon," a sanitized,
debauchery-free gloss on Edward Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire."WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. The works of Shakespeare (1564-1616) have been
expurgated more often than those of any other English language author
except Chaucer. The bard was first bowdlerized by Queen Elizabeth I who cut
the passage in "Richard II" in which the king is deposed. In 1660, Sir
William Avenant trimmed seven plays with the intention "that they may be
reformed of profanities and ribaldry." In the 18th century, by contrast,
greater ribaldry was desired. Dryden's version of "The Tempest," for
instance, gave Miranda a new--and sexy--twin sister.