Expurgation is a form of censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 which involves purging anything deemed noxious or offensive, usually from an artistic work.

This has also been called bowdlerization, especially for books, after Thomas Bowdler
Thomas Bowdler
Thomas Bowdler was an English physician who published an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare's work, edited by his sister Harriet, intended to be more appropriate for 19th century women and children than the original....

, who in 1818 published an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

's work that he considered to be more appropriate for women and children. He similarly edited Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction history book written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788–89...


A work that has been subjected to expurgation is sometimes called a fig-leaf edition, a figurative extension from the older practice of strategically placing fig leaves to hide the groin or breasts of nudes in paintings or statuary
A statue is a sculpture in the round representing a person or persons, an animal, an idea or an event, normally full-length, as opposed to a bust, and at least close to life-size, or larger...



  • In 1264, Clement IV
    Pope Clement IV
    Pope Clement IV , born Gui Faucoi called in later life le Gros , was elected Pope February 5, 1265, in a conclave held at Perugia that took four months, while cardinals argued over whether to call in Charles of Anjou, the youngest brother of Louis IX of France...

     ordered the Jews
    Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

     of Aragon
    Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

     to submit their books to Dominican
    Dominican Order
    The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

     censors for expurgation.
  • Montaigne's Essays
    Essays (Montaigne)
    Essays is the title given to a collection of 107 essays written by Michel de Montaigne that was first published in 1580. Montaigne essentially invented the literary form of essay, a short subjective treatment of a given topic, of which the book contains a large number...

    translated by George B. Ives was published by Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Its current director is William P...

     in 1925 without the essays pertaining to sex. Called a fig-leaf edition.
  • Oil!
    Oil! is a novel by Upton Sinclair published in 1927 told as a third person narrative. The book was written in the context of the Harding administration's Teapot Dome Scandal and takes place in Southern California. It is a social and political satire skewering the human foibles of all its...

    by Upton Sinclair
    Upton Sinclair
    Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. , was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle . It exposed conditions in the U.S...

    : A 150-copy fig-leaf edition was prepared for Boston
    Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

     with nine pages blacked out.
  • A recent printing
    Alan Gribben
    Alan Gribben is a professor of English at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama and a noted Mark Twain scholar. He was Distinguished Research Professor from 1998 to 2001 and the Dr. Guinevera A. Nance Alumni Professor from 2006 to 2009...

     of Mark Twain
    Mark Twain
    Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

    's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in England in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by...

    in which the racially charged word "nigger" (used over 200 times) was changed to "slave".
  • Woot.com's comment board automatically replaces potentially offensive words and phrases will something odd or humerous. Examples are the change from "crap" to "carp", and "bag of crap" to "bandolier of carrots".
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