Since news broke that a new edition of Mark Twain’s classic book “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” would be published next month with every instance of the N-word replaced by “slave,” hoards of readers, scholars and concerned people have spoken in outrage. Yet this is not the first time expurgated books have made their way to the public.
In 1818 American Thomas Bowdler published a series of Shakespeare translations, which he edited heavily for content that he considered offensive. The resulting texts were tamed versions of the originals. Since then, the act of edited or removing offensive content has been deemed “bowdlerizing” and it has taken place many times.
From Darwin to Dolittle, books have been bowdlerized for over two centuries at least. Here are just 7 instances to share. What are some other notable instances? Do you think books should be edited for objectionable content? Or should we let the originals be? Let us know in the comment section below.