Readers, was: Re: YotG along with other, off topic things.

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Mon Sep 11 07:33:27 EDT 2000

Lizzie wrote:

>That's silly, I must say.  It's been a long time since I've read R&J (not
>my favorite Shakespeare play by any means) but I seem to remember that one
>of the funniest parts was near the beginning, when the men joke about
>cutting of some women's heads. . . maidenheads, that is.  At least it was
>highly funny to me when I read it at the age of fourteen because it was
>unexpectedly lewd.

Yup!  That's the part that was chopped!

Parts like that can make the humanity of it closer to
>you--if a genius like Shakespeare who died centuries before you were born
>can make the same sort of jokes as the boys in your grade, the whole play
>becomes much more personal.  Besides, it makes it more fun and less of a
>chore to kids--remember Christopher and the Arabian nights with all the
>dirty parts left in?


> I had a little chat with the English
>> teacher, who was very pleasant, but didn't exactly say anything which
>> reconciled me to the use of an abridged edition.
>Becca's fourteen, right?  That seems old enough to be reading just about
>anything (except maybe. . . well, a few things.)  I'm stating my opinion
>here: I'm against abridging books in general.

It seems especially daft to chop a few bawdy jokes, given that 90% of the
kids in her year are probably regularly watching seriously nasty stuff on
tv and videos.
And part of what bugs me is that the book doesn't even mention that it's
been abridged.

>exceptions: when I read Les Miserables or Daisy Miller for fun I go for
>the versions that have the then-contemporary politics and the late-in-life
>editing of Henry James, respectively, taken out.  But I've read the long
>versions of each.  And I never read Daisy Miller for fun anyway.

Ohhhh yes.  I waded through the unabridged version of Les Miserables -
given to me by someone who'd only read the abridged.  Made me feel very
stupid.  Sigh.

>The first time I read Macbeth (one of my all time favorite Shakespeare
>plays) was in sixth grade, when we performed it for the rest of the
>elementary school.  I was Lady Macbeth for the first half (they divided it
>so that everyone could have a chance).  Two years later, I read it again,
>and discovered that our sixth grade version had been edited.  The part
>where I realized this was Lady Macbeth's first appearence: specifically,
>they cut out bits like "come to my woman's breasts and take my mile for
>gall, you murd'ring ministers, wherever in your sightless substances you
>wait on nature's mischief." (this may not be quite accurate but it's
>I'm sure that as a sixth grader I would have been completely
>uncomfortable saying this in front of lots of other kids, but I don't
>entirely approve of it being left out.

Oh, I remember that!  We did Macbeth for the Leaving (last two years of
high school).  And all those years ago, it _was_ hard to read aloud in a
class.  Maybe that was slightly different, as the intent was not to protect
you from hearing something "unfit", but just to prevent acute
embarrassment.  I think it's pretty impressive to have done Macbeth in 6th


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