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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
Family Shakespeare Redux
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0190  Monday, 26 January 2004

From:           Tom Bishop <
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 >
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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