expurgation n : the deletion of objectionable parts from a literary work [syn: castration]
- Rhymes: -eɪʃǝn
- The act of expurgating, purging, or cleansing; purification from anything noxious, offensive, sinful, or erroneous.
Expurgation is a form of censorship by way of purging anything noxious, offensive, sinful, or erroneous, usually from an artistic work. In recent times, this has been known as bowdlerization after Thomas Bowdler, who in 1818 published an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare's work that he considered to be more appropriate than the original for women and children. He similarly edited Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
- In 1264, Clement IV ordered that the Jews of Aragon to submit their books to Dominican censors for expurgation.
- The Private Memoirs of Kenelm Digby (1603 – 1665) were finally published in 1828 in a bowdlerized form.
- Fanny Hill (1748) was self-censored by author John Cleland in a 1750 edition. A modern edition was banned until Memoirs v. Massachusetts overturned the ban.
- Justine (aka The Misfortunes of Virtue) (1791) was not completely translated to English until 1953 by Austryn Wainhouse.
- Several themes in the play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof were toned down in the 1958 film of the same name, resulting in the playwright Tennessee Williams advising people to not view the film.
- In 1986, to mark the centenary of Lofting's birth, new editions of Doctor Dolittle were published with passages rewritten or removed to avoid usage of derogatory terms for and depiction of certain ethnic groups therein, both written and illustrated.