Bowdlerization

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hugh
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Post by hugh » October 28th, 2005, 5:57 am

re: legality changing the text, the beauty of public domain is that you can do whatever you like with the text - even record it! so no worries there.

re: the rest of the debate ... maybe LibriVox does the original, and if the reader (or someone else) wishes to do a sanitized version, we can host that too, but without the LibriVox intro? & with a intro, eg: "This audio version is slightly edited, to remove offensive language..." or somesuch.

I must say, as I think about this more, I like it less, but again, there's no reason to stop anyone doing anything *in addition* to the LibriVox standard, and we should host that too to make it easy to get to.

Squiddhartha
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Post by Squiddhartha » October 28th, 2005, 8:37 am

Rev. Steve, I do have children. I fully support your right to choose to read your hypothetical future children the original text and discuss the implications with them; and I hope you support my right to do likewise, at a time of my own choosing. I am opting to delay reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to my sons until such time as I think they're ready to grasp the fine distinctions of the language, and in reading the Kipling to them, I have followed the modern practice of altering the text of "Leopard."

Your assertion that "Each and every person much be allowed to decide for his or her self what words, and ultimately what thoughts are acceptable to them" is absolutely true -- for those of an appropriate age to do so. However, I do have the responsibility, and the right, to decide what is acceptable for my children. By providing two versions of the reading of "Leopard", my intent is to allow other parents to do the same.

I understand and agree with your note that changing the text even slightly changes the meaning; in fact, in my reading, I tend to approach the original more closely than most modern versions, by saying "for a man" instead of completely omitting the phrase. Thus I end up changing only one word -- the word that carries all the baggage, and adds nothing to the story.

Finally, as Hugh notes, we can do whatever we want to public-domain texts, and as I have noted elsewhere, it would be literally impossible to faithfully reproduce in speech certain pieces of books that can be rendered in text but not in voice, so we must allow ourselves a certain degree of latitude. I wish to observe that, in my reading, I could simply have recorded my altered version and few would have been the wiser -- but I wanted to be open and above-board about my dilemma and my intent.

[An aside: it's copy*right* and copy*righted*, not copywrite and copywritten. A nitpick, but an important one.]
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