The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1767 Tuesday, 19 October 1999.
Date: Monday, 18 Oct 1999 16:32:51 -0400
Subject: Bowdlerized Shakespeare
Many of us who, at one time or another, have taught English on the
secondary level, have been obliged to use "expurgated" versions of the
plays. In my case (the English Protestant public sector in Quebec, in
the seventies), this was due not to any outdated, puritanical
squeamishness, but to reasons of economy: any book that did not
literally fall apart, had to be used, until it did. My students followed
the text in their old books, while listening to the excellent Caedmon
recordings of the plays. Never was I rewarded with such rapt attention,
as when the class, having spotted the LACUNA, heard a skilled actor's
rendition of a great speech, i.e. Lear's on "adultery" (IV,vi.110-128).
Such experiences invariably engendered lively and interesting
discussions, so a school board's stinginess and an old bowdlerizer's
"marality" were turned to good account.
Cheers, Jadwiga Krupski