Bowdler’s Day is a day to remember the prudish medical doctor, Thomas Bowdler, born near Bath, England, on July 11, 1754. He gave up the practice of medicine and undertook the cleansing of the works of Shakespeare by removing all the words and expressions he considered to be indecent or impious. His Family Shakespeare, in 10 volumes, omitted all those words that cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family.
He also purified Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and selections from the Old Testament. His name became synonymous with self-righteous expurgation, and the word bowdlerize has become part of the English language. Bowdler died at Rhyddings, in South Wales, Feb 24, 1825.
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