Rewriting old books: Discuss. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
It's ludicrous. This whole sensitivity BS has gotten out of hand. Wizards of the Coast is doing this for lots of D&D stuff and is catching backlash as well. The most recent one was there changed the name of an apelike/Neanderthal creature that works on the deck of a boat from deck ape to something else. Not once did I ever associate that with anything racial and if you do the problem is you not the creature. The overwhelming majority of people are fine with whatever language is there. I think they're using it as a marketing tactic to drive up sales of old books and try to grandstand their wokeness. Give me the original stuff and move on with your pathetic nitpicking life.
I agree with you 100%. If a living author wants to change his mind/words, they are the owners and therefore have the right. However, we should never meddle with someone else’s words. They have been printed/preserved. They have been sold and boughten. They have been read. They are what they are. They are history. They are creativity. Leave them the fuck alone!
I hereby agree (vehemently) with Dustin and Dennis. Dead words, let 'em rest; living words, it's the author's choice. And that horrific sneaky underhanded unethical sneaking in to modify digital files is so malicious and wrong it makes me swear in two languages.
I'm saddened by the thought of the history that is lost potentially in the prose that was used at the time. How far do you go back, change Dickens, Shakespeare? Also do we lose a new generations interpretation of that language as in when books are adapted for a film/TV script if it's already done and how soon before that becomes outdated? The past is the past and and we should understand that and look to adapting ourselves, language and environment for the future and future communications
I dread the day when someone tries to sanitize The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the closest thing we have to a great American novel. If I weren’t committed to no longer cussing, I’d put “Don’t F*** With Huck” stickers around libraries and bookstores.
How many different versions are there of the Bible? In how many languages?
Without a Google search- a whole LOT!
Updating language to fit the times is how many great works stay current.
Isn't that how we end up with different revised editions?
First editions become more valuable with age and the number of editions are published.
If i ever get published, I hope I'm translated "accurately" into many languages and that my work gets updated to fit the times, finds and helps as many people as possible and my lineage continues to profit from my work.
I agree with you on this one, and was truly angered when the owners of Dr. Seuss's classic books were changed and some removed. When I was in the second grade, "And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street" is no longer available. It's just wrong.
How dare anyone but the original author change his/her words! The pendulum has swung too far.
I was talking about this in a different context with someone last month: a philosophy graduate student made the point that a text has a life of its own, and that whatever the author may have intended, others can have legitimate but different ideas about what it means, let alone its impact, etc.
Personally, I think an author should be able to make revisions, but that the old edition should also somehow "stay" so people can see it. This is important in philosophy and other areas where we might want to study the evolution of thought. Or in the case of children's books, the evolution of culture.
Then publishers can decide whether they want to continue to publish a book, and parents can decide whether they want to provide these books to their children. And maybe children make a different set of decisions when they find these books in the library.
It seems odd to censor out words like "ugly" or "fat" ... or "stupid" since children use these words anyway. Better to start a conversation with children, one that will go long over many books read and time spent on the playground and in the streets; a conversation about the words we choose and how we want to treat others. Maybe in the end, "ugly" or "fat" won't be such a "judgmental" word if we have a real conversation with children, helping them to be adults in a real world, rather than pretending like the ideas and reactions behind these words don't really exist.
What have we become when words like fat and ugly and even small man are offensive? We need to be raising more resilient children. Or at least kids who can comprehend the meaning of fiction.
Revisions to books should be made only if the authors care to do it. That's it! If the authors have since passed, don't make any changes.
Here’s a different take on this. How about changing music like Beethoven to be less dramatic? Or the Impressionists to be more realistic? Art, music, writing expresses the culture of the time. It’s history. Change that and you are erasing history. Isn’t that the whole problem for what’s happening currently? Isn’t that what happened in Hitler’s Germany and the Soviet Union/Russia. Think about it.
Attempting to rewrite history is never a good idea. Even if it’s fictional.
There’s something about the written, bound word. Opening a book and smelling the pages…feeling them…hearing their crispness as the pages are turned. It’s an immersive experience, ceremonious…even sacrosanct.
From the tender age of 3 months old, I read aloud to my 3 girls. At first, I folded up a thick comforter, put it on the floor in our family room, added a couple pillows and would have my children lying, face-up, while I held the book open over our heads and I would read until they wanted to stop. I would become the characters.
As my girls grew a little older, I did this in shifts…the older ones would pile onto one of their beds and we would make our way through the classics, or Harry Potter, or absorb Narnia. Roald Dahl was also a favorite. Then, it was all three girls piled on the bed and we continued this tradition with the older girls taking their turns as well.
I would stop at certain passages, words or phrases and explain why they were written, but might not be appropriate now. These were learning moments, opportunities to see the juxtaposition of then vs. now…wonderful teaching nuggets.
I wouldn’t trade those days for anything…literally. I cringe at the thought of being forced to use books that had been through a homogenization process so their publisher could, in their mind, be more widely accepted and/or relevant for financial gain.
Yes…if the author is alive, have at it. It’s your right. If they are deceased, then let their words serve as history. Allow the reading experience to remain sacrosanct.
I agree with you.
“that Puffin was remotely rewriting ebooks that people had previously purchased, to update with the new language.
To be clear, I think this is insane and dangerous.”
Hello 1984. Wow.