The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0190 Monday, 26 January 2004
From: Tom Bishop <
Date: Saturday, 24 Jan 2004 18:11:15 -0500
Subject: Family Shakespeare Redux
For the annals of Popular Shakespeare, I received in my mailbox today an
announcement from Amazon.com that Hamlet: Safe for the Whole Family to
Read Aloud will shortly be published in paperback. This appears to be,
incredibly, a reprint from Bowdler's notorious "Family Shakespeare" of
1818. I wonder if the well-intentioned editors have considered what
kinds of families might be threatened by what aspects of the play?
Step-mothers might worry at the strictures on second marriage,
marriageable daughters take fright at fathers' tyrannies, elder brothers
cast a wary eye at ambitious sibs.... Let alone the possibility of
skepticism running rampant through the family like a bad curry, or a
contagious disease. How DOES one make Hamlet safe for the whole family?
(Or is it just the reading aloud that threatens us?)
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