Talk:Thomas Bowdler

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Changes to Shakespeare[edit]

In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth's famous cry "Out, damned spot!" was changed to "Out, crimson spot!" This is a commonly quoted example of Bowdler's butchering of The Bard, but this is not changed in Bowdler's edition; "Out, damned spot!" is retained as in the original. Here is the source for that particular Bowdlerization "On page 382 of the Bulfinches’ Shakespeare Adapted for Reading Classes: “Lady M. Out, crimson spot!”" See Ross E. Davies, "How Not to Bowdlerize" for the details and full references: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:29, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

Excised (!) from the article:

Colin Franklin writes, "If we agree that children should not be freely exposed to sex-videos, all of us are latter-day Bowdlers." [1]

No, that would only be the case if we were to try to produce a version of, say, Debbie Does Dallas, that was suitable for children, rather than simply trying to stop children from seeing it. (Precisely what was done on the sadly short-lived program, "Good Clean Porn," [2] on the sadly short-lived Trio channel.)

The former is Bowdlerization, the latter simple censorship. Producing an expurgated version and banning the original would be both.

I'm hoping Cunctator will bowdlerize my shithead (Game) article. --Ed Poor

Sorry, just moved it to its appropriate location. --The Cunctator

off topic, but a bowdlerized version of Debbie does Dallas would be quite amusing... thanks for the thought. ;-) Maybe add a modern version of this, say in the removal of swear words from many pop music lyrics for play on radio/tv and sale at some retailers? As a relative of Thomas - I'm David Bowdler - one of my goals in life is to 'd'-bowdlerise works. I'll begin gently by inserting the 's' into bowdlerise ;-)
I put both spellings in with a footnote. It was confusing to me as an American to see bowdlerise but as you can see, I left the British spelling first, since the tenor of this article is more British than American. --KSnortum 8 July 2005 19:21 (UTC)
I replaced the comments about which spelling variant of bowdlerise/bowdlerize is more common. The claims were unsubstantiated and irrelevant to an article about Thomas Bowdler himself. A brief "-ize is US English; -ise is UK English" is all this article needs on the spelling topic. Readers who really care can jump to the appropriate article. Editors that really care need to stop spreading the issue all over Wikipedia. EricN 00:44, 17 October 2005 (UTC)


I'm sure the answer is no, but is there an antonym to "Bowdlerize" (i.e., a word that means somebody intentionally inserting offensive words or phrases into somebody else's work)? Jeff Silvers 08:25, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Dyphemize ;)(or as our friend above would put it, dyphemise.) Shelby Davis (talk) 03:41, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

The F-Word[edit]

From the introduction - "For example replacing the word "f***" with "the f-word"". Although this is arguably mere censorship or euphemism rather than bowdlerization, I don't think that doing it twice in the same sentence is really necessary. Shall we have the more illustrative "...replacing the word "fuck" with "the f-word"" instead? Tevildo 17:36, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Aye. WP:NOT censored. —Nightstallion (?) 22:34, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Changes to Shakespeare[edit]

Under this heading there is currently only one example, and it is not particularly illustrative of the changes Bowdler made. Does anyone know where to find some better examples?--Shantavira 13:50, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Added the change to Macbeth.

Pronounciation of the Verb?[edit]

How is the verb pronounced? Neither this article nor the wikitionary entry on the word discusses pronounciation, and I'm curious and unsure. -Fsotrain09 04:18, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Added pronunciation of the name. Pronunciation of the verb ought to follow straightforwardly from the name. Vilĉjo 21:53, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

removed bowdlerization examples[edit]

I removed the following section, as it doesn't relate to Bowdler:

==Famous Bowdlerised quotes==

  • John Nance Garner- "[The Vice Presidency] is not worth a pitcher of warm piss." ("Piss" is often replaced with "spit.")
  • Lyndon Johnson- "[Gerald Ford] is too stupid to fart and chew gum at the same time." ("fart" often replaced with "walk")

jnestorius(talk) 00:31, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

  • It may not relate to Bowdler, but it does show examples of the term bowdlerize, which redirects here and is bolded in the lead section. Thus the quotes seem to be relevant to the topic. You can make a case for moving bowdlerize to another article, but otherwise it makes sense to have some examples here. Dforest (talk) 21:29, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
    • One of spellings & inflections of the verb already Rdrs to Expurgation (which faithfully links to the accompanying article!). I'm confident in re-targeting to there the 10 that presently come here. My guess is that Bowlderdash (and a few other spellings i intend to add) should go there too, tho i would find counterarguments at least interesting).
      --Jerzyt 06:20, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
      • Following research (3 collegiate to unabrdiged dicts, wiktionary, and a G-search), i conclude that "bowdlerdash" has been used 4 time by Jock Tamson (who attributes it to his parents) on and about 6 times by "Lord Tennisanyone") (and that "balderdash" is of unknown origin). Bowlderdash has about 50 G-hits, mostly for games or bowling teams. Thus i am reviewing CSD, and failing that, evoking {{ProD}}.
        --Jerzyt 06:51, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
        • Well, it's 16 months old, IMO failing R3 for lack of recency. And the rationale of R3 suggests to me that applying ProD would abuse the policy. I'd consider Del on RfD, but i ain't gonna do the nom'n there.
          --Jerzyt 07:12, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Balderdash was a means of stopping Carbon Dioxide in fizzy drinks destroying the bottles when opened. Where you will find this on the World Wide Net I do not know 17:48, 15 December 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Algernon Swinburne quote[edit]

I believe the Algernon Swinburne quote may be facetious check his bio. Datacharge 15:32, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Nope. Swinburne read Bowdler's edition as a child, and was a respected literary critic. The source of the quote is "Studies in Prose and Poetry" (1894), chapter "Social verse"; I can't find an online copy. jnestorius(talk) 23:30, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

jnestorius, you probably know more about this than I, (as you appear to have a physical copy of "Studies..." in your possession?) but I'm not sure that the fact that Swinbure was a respected lit. critic (conceded) and read the Bowlder ed. as a child (I'll take your word for it) necessarily indicates that he wasn't being facetious. Could you flesh out the background a bit? It just seems so unlike a decadent to approve prudery, you know? Shelby Davis (talk) 22:30, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Not really bowdlerization[edit]

This is a minor point, but I wouldn't call 'frack' the bowdlerization of 'fuck'. Bowdlerization refers to the excision of offensive material. This is really an example of taboo deformation or euphemism.

Not Victorian[edit]

This article contains an error I wish someone would change. Bowlder hardly wrote to please a Victorian audience. He published his edition of Shakespeare twenty years before Victoria came to the throne. She wasn't even recognized as a potential heir to the throne at the time. The Regency era was not as stuffy as the Victorian era, as a general statement - but the Regency era had its own stuffy individuals and the Victorian era its own pornographers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:46, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

pronunciation of name (or verb)[edit]

The generally accepted pronunciation is that 'Bow' conforms as for the 'bow' of a ship, or 'bough' of a tree. But, quis custodet ipso custodes! Miletus (talk) 10:36, 9 January 2010 (UTC)