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REVISIONS THROUGH THE YEARS

Page history last edited by Amanda 11 years, 3 months ago
Originally published in 1922, the book had a 28 year copyright under United States law at the time. The copyright was renewed in 1950 by Lofting’s third wife Josephine (Lofting died in 1947). This extension expired 28 years later in 1978 and was not renewed in the United States due to changes in the copyright laws that put it in the public domain at that point.

 

Apparently changes in “The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle” were happening prior to 1978, though. Editions starting in the 1960s removed some offensive terms for black people. (Exactly when these revisions appeared is difficult to determine, as the changes are not explicitly noted.) Some of these changes and new adaptations were associated with the 1967 “Doctor Dolittle” movie starring Rex Harrison. Isabelle Suhl, in an article called “The ‘Real’ Doctor Dolittle” for Interracial Books for Children Bulletin, (Vol. II, #1 and 2) in 1969, mentions a Dell edition of the book published in November 1967 that changes the word “niggers” in the aforementioned “Sleeping Beauty” passage to “natives.”

 

She also mentions a publication by Lippincott (publishers of the original Doctor Dolittle books) of Doctor Dolittle: A Treasury (1967), which was a compilation of excerpts from eight of the Dolittle books. Bumpo does not appear in any of the abridgments, “although the distorted portrait of Bumpo still appears on the reproduction of the original title page of The Story of Doctor Dolittle…The largest excerpt is of The Voyages (104 pages), but no longer is there a “third man” in the crew. Where the excerpt chosen makes it necessary, Bumpo’s original role is assigned to one of the other characters, animal or human.”

 

Next: CONCLUSION

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