Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: October ::
Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1728  Tuesday, 12 October 1999.

[1]     From:   Dana Shilling <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 10:59:44 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Marilyn Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 11:49:11 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

[3]     From:   Abigail Quart <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 12:37:53 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

[4]     From:   William Proctor Williams <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 11 Oct 1999 19:36:01 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

[5]     From:   A. D. Murphy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Oct 1999 12:56:34 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 10:59:44 -0400
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

One reason for the near-universal teaching of Julius Caesar is that it
is, so to speak, auto-bowdlerized: very limited sexual by-play or
references.  Similarly, high school kids are inoculated against ever
enjoying George Eliot (another great writer who took a lot of interest
in sexuality) by being force-fed Silas Marner instead of something they
might actually enjoy. (In defense of high school teachers, Middlemarch,
Mill on the Floss, and Romola are probably too long to be taught in high
school).

Dana (Shilling)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marilyn Bonomi <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 11:49:11 -0400
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

Most of the high school lit anthologies of the 50's-60's bowdlerized the
plays.  I believe that the ones we used in high school were the same as
the ones when I first started teaching: the Adventures in... series
published by Harcourt, Brace (Now HBJ).  When I started teaching in 1966
(yeah, I'm an antique <g>) the book room was filled w/ versions of
various plays... some hardback, some paperback.  I recall a school
series in hb that was seriously amended, at least in the case of R&J
(which even then I knew mostly by heart, esp. the racier portions, b/c
of a college production on which I had worked).  However, after the
first year when I felt cheated (and so provided the students w/ the
missing lines <snickering>) I moved on to paperbacks and have been using
the Folger's almost ever since.  Starting last year, I ask my Honors
students to come up w/ the $11 or so it will cost them and buy the Arden
edition.  If anyone knows the Cambridge (NOT the schoolboy's version) or
Oxford World's Classics and thinks it's better, LMK b/c I'm about to
order their books for this year.

I grew up in suburban Philadelphia and teach in suburban New Haven, for
what it's worth in the context of butchered classics.

Marilyn Bonomi

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 12:37:53 -0700
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

The only Shakespeare in my father's hundreds of books was a bowdlerized,
illustrated copy of Hamlet, copyright 1922 by Samuel Thurber, Jr.,
published in 1944 by Allyn and Bacon as one of The Academy Classics.
It's stamped Property of Bronxville Public Schools.

What I love most about it is the section "Subjects for Composition." For
instance, Number 4 is "References to the Bible in Hamlet. Make a
collection of all references to the Bible in the play. Note the
circumstances and character of each. What conclusion do you draw as to
Shakespeare's knowledge and use of the scriptures?"

Number 34 is "Ophelia writes to Laertes. Try to imagine the sort of
letter she would write. She is affectionate, and she has a keen sense of
humor (see I.3. 45-51). Would she mention Hamlet?

Number 42 is " 'My Switzers.' See IV.5.80. Hunt up references to the
Swiss Guard in history. Write a theme embodying what you find, with
special reference to the 'Lion of Lucerne.' "

Anybody give high school students an assignment like those recently?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 11 Oct 1999 19:36:01 -0500
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

If one actually looks, textually, at the Bowdler and Malone editions,
one finds that Bowdler did not Bowdlerize so much as one has been lead
to believe.

William Proctor Williams

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           A. D. Murphy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Oct 1999 12:56:34 +0100
Subject: 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1719 Re: Bowdlerized Shakespeare

I'm pretty sure that the Shakespeare texts used when I was at secondary
school in Ireland in the '70s had at least some level of expurgation. It
wasn't until many years later that the irony of this occurred to me: the
series was called the 'Malone Shakespeare', in honour of the famous
Irish-born editor, Edmond Malone.

Though not really intended for a scholarly audience, Noel Perrin's book
'Dr. Bowdler's Legacy' (Macmillan, 1970) is a very useful account of the
history of expurgation and contains much useful material on Shakespeare.

Thomas Bowdler himself was a student here at St. Andrews for a spell,
though he appears not to have left much trace behind. We do, however,
have a number of books in the library which have obscene annotations by
C18th students.

Cheers,
Andrew
School of English
University of St. Andrews
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.