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Re: [mythsoc] Illustrated Edition of Fouque's "The Magic Ring"

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  • John Rateliff
    This thread reminded me an interesting discussion at the St. Paul Mythcon where i first learned that the DOCTOR DOLITTLE books had been scrubbed in the
    Message 1 of 31 , Jan 29, 2010
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      This thread reminded me an interesting discussion at the St. Paul Mythcon where i first learned that the DOCTOR DOLITTLE books had been "scrubbed" in the 1950s/60s. Mostly they just took out all the pictures of the African prince who becomes the Doctor's companion, but they also removed a reference to Charles Darwin.
         I'm more for leaving texts intact, even when it restricts the audience. For example, I've just been listening to Dante's PARADISE on audiobook, and there are some pretty appalling things in there -- but to take them out would distort the true picture that Dante could indeed, as Tolkien said, be petty and spiteful. People who are offended by, well, blatantly offensive passages usually learn either to box off what they read (pretty much the only way anyone can now read "The Prioress's Tale", I shd think)  or develop a good radar that steers them away from works that would only upset them or tells them when to put the book down and walk away.
         Besides which, shouldn't a Moor's appearance reflect her southern origin?

      --John R.

      On Jan 29, 2010, at 7:44 AM, Doug Kane wrote:
      I certainly understand why you say that, Sue, but I have to disagree with your hope that "the new edition has been seriously edited."  I don't believe that "scrubbing clean" the works of authors from a previous generation to match a modern ethical sensibility is the right approach.  The author wrote what he wrote, and that should be preserved intact, even if we find what was written offensive.  To do otherwise would be a form of cultural censorship.  Moreover, if we strive to remove the signs of prejudice and bias from the past, how will be ever learn from them? At least that is how I see it.

      . . . I had only to read to page 3 to find this;
      -- an old Moorish woman, a servant at the castle, with an uncouth and swarth visage, for she was a native of Africa - - - her dark complexion and strange features betrayed her eastern origin.
      If the whole tale is filled with such references in the original, I would hope the new edition has been seriously edited? Uncouth?  Strange?

    • dale nelson
      And of course George MacDonald s brief answer to the question What is a fairy-tale? was Read Undine (in The Fantastic Imagination, I believe). Dale
      Message 31 of 31 , Feb 1, 2010
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        And of course George MacDonald's brief answer to the question "What is a fairy-tale?" was "Read 'Undine'" (in "The Fantastic Imagination," I believe).

        Dale Nelson

        From: John Rateliff <sacnoth@...>
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sun, January 31, 2010 10:58:10 PM
        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Illustrated Edition of Fouque's "The Magic Ring"


        On Jan 31, 2010, at 7:27 AM, WendellWag@aol. com wrote:
        So does anyone here think that "The Magic Ring" is a great story?

        Haven't read it, though now that this new edition is out I probably will, once I track down a copy. 

           If you want a quick fix on whether or not you're likely to find it worth reading, an easy way to do so is to check out the same author's most famous work, UNDINE, conveniently reprinted in Doug Anderson's TALES BEFORE NARNIA.*  If you skim UNDINE (which shd also be available from any number of university libraries or possibly through interlibrary loan from your public library) and like it, you might want to follow up on THE MAGIC RING. If his masterpiece leaves you cold, you ought not to feel any compunction to read on (though I allow most authors the three-book rule, myself).

        --John R.

        *Doug notes that it's a work which CSL liked well enough to hunt down and read in the original German.


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