Bowdler, Thomas(boud`lər, bōd`–), 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.
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(1754–1825) expurgated Shakespeare and Gibbon for family editions. [Br. Hist.: Wallechinsky, 164]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.