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To Alan Gribben, PhD: Grand Bowdlerizer of Mark Twain

January 5, 2011

[bowdlerization – The practice of censorship by publication of expurgated texts. This practice got its name from English editor Thomas Bowdler (1854-1825) who published altered editions (especially of Shakespeare’s works).]

Now read the article to provide context, if you’re unfamiliar with situation.

date Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 2:28 PM
subject Bowdlerizing Twain
Dr. Gribben:

As a scholar of literature I will assume you are familiar with the term “bowdlerizing”. If you aren’t, then talk to one of your colleagues whose specialty is Shakespearean literature and he or she will enlighten you.

As a department chair for a major American University, I would assume that you are tenured, published and respected. To be honest, I hold no avowed scholars of anything in high esteem; but I do hold Twain and his work in high esteem. I am also familiar with the mechanizations of higher education, and the publish or perish environment. As a scholar, how can you justify a politically correct hack and slash job? Is your position there in such jeopardy that you need to ruin a seminal American novel to keep the Dean and Board of Regents off your back?

I read your response in Publisher’s Weekly, and I found it a pathetic justification by a tired intellectual. If you’ve dried up that much, do your students and your department a favor: retire. Now.




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