Not all old language is acceptable to modern audiences

Ayal Pinkus

Even though Don Quixote was initially published in 1605, more than four hundred years ago, the story aged well. But I am finding that it does require a few changes to make it acceptable to modern audiences.

I am basing my version on translations by John Ormsby and Charles Jarvis. Interestingly, Charles Jarvis cut out significant parts that he perhaps considered too racy. These parts can still be found in the John Ormsby translation. Apparently, these sections were not agreeable to a nineteenth-century audience.

The “racy” parts are very safe by today's standards.
However, in both translations, we can find language unacceptable today, sections which are racist and which I am vehemently removing.

The “racy” parts are very safe though by today's standards, so I am leaving them in. For example, I am now editing three chapters that tell the story of one man who asks his friend to try to seduce his wife, to see if she will fall for it.

I would not necessarily let children read this, but it is not a children's story. This book is for adults! Charles Jarvis cut out the entire two and a half chapters that tell this story.

Fortunately, the John Ormsby version does contain it. It is a hilarious, fast-paced farce that has you on the tip of your seat. The story ages well, even though it appears to have been intolerable to an over-sensitive and prude nineteenth-century audience.

Yours truly,
Ayal Pinkus

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