Bowdler

Bowdler

Bowdler, Thomas, 1754-1825, English editor. He is best known for his Family Shakespeare (10 vol., 1818), an expurgated edition for family reading that, although attacked for its prudery, was reprinted many times. Bowdler also edited (omitting passages of an irreligious or immoral tendency) selections from the Old Testament (1822) and Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (6 vol., 1826). His editorial activities gave rise to the term bowdlerize, which means to expurgate a book by deleting sections considered indelicate.

(born July 11, 1754, Ashley, near Bath, Somerset, Eng.—died Feb. 24, 1825, Rhydding, near Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales) English physician, philanthropist, and man of letters. He is known for his Family Shakspeare (1818), in which, by expurgation and paraphrase, he aimed to provide an edition of the plays suitable for a father to read aloud to his family without fear of offending their susceptibilities or corrupting their minds. The first edition (1807) contained a selection of 20 plays that probably were expurgated by Bowdler's sister, Harriet.

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(born July 11, 1754, Ashley, near Bath, Somerset, Eng.—died Feb. 24, 1825, Rhydding, near Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales) English physician, philanthropist, and man of letters. He is known for his Family Shakspeare (1818), in which, by expurgation and paraphrase, he aimed to provide an edition of the plays suitable for a father to read aloud to his family without fear of offending their susceptibilities or corrupting their minds. The first edition (1807) contained a selection of 20 plays that probably were expurgated by Bowdler's sister, Harriet.

Learn more about Bowdler, Thomas with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Bowdler, a prominent Shropshire family descended from Baldwin de Boulers.

People with the given name Bowdler:

People with the surname Bowdler:

  • Cal Bowdler (born 1977), retired American professional basketball player
  • Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), English physician, author/editor of the Family Shakespeare (1818), source of the expression: 'to Bowdlerise'

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