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Literature Glossary

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Bowdlerize

Definition:

When you bowdlerize a text, you remove certain parts of it. Publishers sometimes bowdlerize to make a text simpler or less offensive.

The recent bowdlerization of the n-word in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by NewSouth Books stirred up quite the controversy.

The term is named after Thomas Bowdler, who famously, and controversially, published a bowdlerized version of Shakespeare's collected works to create The Family Shakespeare. We have just one question: what in the world did he do with Lady Macbeth?

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