commemorates the birth of Thomas Bowdler, born on this date in 1754, near Bath, England. At this point, you are probably asking, why should I care about this? Well, you have probably heard or read the term bowd·ler·ize/ˈbōdləˌrīz/, which is a verb which means to remove material that is considered improper or offensive from (a text or account), especially with the result that it becomes weaker or less, for example: "a bowdlerized version of the story." Yes, this English doctor, philanthropist and man of letters spawned a verb which is synonymous with censorship. How did that “happen?”
“I acknowledge Shakespeare to be the world's greatest dramatic poet, but regret that no parent could place the uncorrected book in the hands of his daughter, and therefore I have prepared the Family Shakespeare… Many words and expressions occur which are of so indecent a nature as to render it highly desirable that they should be erased… If any word or expression is of such a nature that the first impression it excites is an impression of obscenity, that word ought not to be spoken nor written or printed ; and, if printed, it ought to be erased." (Preface to 1818 edition)
He called his book The Family Shakspeare: In Ten Volumes; in which Nothing is Added to the Original Text; But Those Words and Expressions are Omitted which Cannot with Propriety be Read Aloud in a Family. The 1818 edition became extremely popular and helped make Shakespeare's plays known to a wide audience. Many critics of the 1800's, including the redoubtable Algernon Charles Swinburne praised Bowdler's edition for making Shakespeare's plays safe for women and children.
Ophelia's death in Hamlet is referred to as an accidental drowning, not a possible suicide. (Guess she was just out rock-hunting and just happened to stow a bunch of her most interesting finds in her pockets before she, alas, fell into the stream.)
Lady Macbeth's "Out, Damned spot" is changed to "Out, Crimson spot." (Perfect cheer for any teams playing Alabama or Harvard!)
Doll Tearsheet (a woman of ill-repute (how’s that for bowdlerizing?) is completely written out of Henry IV, Part 1.
In Romeo and Juliet, instead of saying "the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon,” Mercutio quips "the hand of the dial is now upon the point of noon" (not half as quipish) and Juliet's line "Spread thy close curtain, love performing night" is changed to "... and come civil night." (Oh please!)
And there's plenty more where that came from...