Thursday, June 22, 2006

Booking with Abridgements

Booking Through Thursday

We haven't talked about abridged stories for a while. These questions were suggested by Xine.

  1. Are abridgements a good introduction to long, boring classics, or a blight on literature? In my younger, more foolish days, I didn't think anything about abridgements. At some point, I became aware of more erudite opintions that abridgements were indeed, a blight on literature. I don't know that I had ever read any abridgements but I sure wasn't going to after that! Being all grown up now, I never really thought about it again before today. So, having now given it two whole minutes of thought, I think, for the most part, that works of fiction, at least, shouldn't be abridged because that changes the artist's creation. However, if anyone is of a mind to read works that are abridged, I don't have a problem with that.

  2. If abridgements have their place, what is it? I think the best place for abridgements is when a book is recorded. With an audio book, it makes more sense to condense the work. Having said that, I would still prefer to find one that wasn't abridged.

  3. Have you read any abridgements, or will you read any? Why or why not? I don't recall if I have. I know not in the last 25 years or so! I seriously doubt I will in the next 25 either.


paf said...

I couldn't let this blog pass into wherever blogs go without commenting on it. Abridgements alter the landscape of a book. It would be like looking at a forest that has had every other tree removed. Sure, you can see the sky better, but what happens to all those leaves, needles, and bark? Those are the texture of a book. And without that texture, you're left with something very different from the original.

Anonymous said...

I think the quality of the abridged works makes a big difference. Growing up - there was a publication that was focused on bringing classics to young adults - they did not massacre the original nor did they tone it down to pre-school level. I read the abridged version of 'Prisoner of Zenda' - I loved it - I then read the original - it was so unwieldy - the abridged version's author had got all the nuances of the story right and captured the essence of each characters. I am not recommending reading the abridged version for pleasure - it is to get a quick grasp of the outline and to know the difference characters that make it up.