International Bowdler’s Day – July 11: Facts & Quotes

Are you ready to celebrate Bowdler’s Day on July 11? This quirky holiday commemorates the life and work of Thomas Bowdler, an English physician, and editor who is best known for his family-friendly editions of Shakespeare’s plays. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating history of Bowdler’s Day, explore Thomas Bowdler’s legacy, and discuss how you can join in the festivities. So put on your literary hat and let’s dive in!

Bowdler’s Day, observed on July 11 every year, pays tribute to Thomas Bowdler, a man who dedicated his life to creating “expurgated” versions of literary works, particularly the plays of William Shakespeare. This unique holiday celebrates the importance of accessible literature for all audiences, regardless of age or sensitivity.

Who Was Thomas Bowdler?

Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825) was an English physician and writer. He is famously known for his editions of Shakespeare’s plays, which he heavily censored to remove content that he deemed inappropriate or offensive. Bowdler’s aim was to create more family-friendly versions of these works, making them suitable for women and children.

Bowdler’s Day Origins

Bowdler’s Day originated from the legacy of Thomas Bowdler and his efforts to sanitize literature. The holiday was established to recognize his contributions to making classic works more accessible and appropriate for a wider audience. On this day, we honor Bowdler’s mission of creating literature that is enjoyable and suitable for all readers.

Celebrating Bowdler’s Day

There are numerous ways to celebrate Bowdler’s Day and pay homage to Thomas Bowdler’s work. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Organize a Shakespearean play reading or performance using a Bowdlerized version.
  • Host a literary event where participants discuss the impact of Bowdler’s editions on the accessibility of classic literature.
  • Share your favorite Bowdlerized quotes or passages on social media, accompanied by the hashtag #BowdlersDay.
  • Encourage children to read Bowdlerized versions of literary works to introduce them to classic literature at an early age.
  • Support organizations or libraries that promote accessible literature and advocate for literary inclusivity.

The Impact of Bowdler’s Work

Bowdler’s work had a significant impact on the accessibility of literature, particularly during the Victorian era. His editions allowed a broader audience to engage with classic works without encountering explicit content. While some critics argue that his censorship compromised the integrity of the original texts, others applaud Bowdler for making these works available to a wider range of readers.

Controversies Surrounding Bowdlerization

The concept of Bowdlerization has sparked debates among scholars and literary enthusiasts. Critics argue that altering original texts diminish their artistic value and hinders a complete understanding of the author’s intended message. They believe that readers should be exposed to unfiltered content to fully appreciate the complexity and depth of literary works. On the other hand, supporters of Bowdler’s work argue that his editions allowed for wider access to literature and made these works more palatable for audiences with different sensibilities.

Bowdler’s Day Activities and Events

Bowdler’s Day offers a great opportunity to engage in various activities and events related to literature and censorship. Here are some ideas for celebrating this unique holiday:

  • Attend a local book club or literary discussion focused on Bowdler’s editions or the broader topic of censorship in literature.
  • Visit a library or bookstore and explore Bowdlerized versions of classic works. Compare them to the original texts to gain insight into the alterations made by Bowdler.
  • Create a Bowdlerized version of a famous scene from a play or novel, showcasing your own editing skills while considering the impact of your choices.
  • Organize a public reading of Bowdler’s own writings, shedding light on his motivations and the social climate of his time.
  • Engage in online discussions or forums to share opinions and perspectives on Bowdlerization and its relevance in today’s society.

Bowdler’s Day in the Digital Age

With the advent of digital media, Bowdler’s work has taken on a new dimension. E-books and online platforms offer easy access to both original and Bowdlerized versions of literary works. Readers now have the opportunity to choose which version suits their preferences. The digital age allows for a broader understanding of Bowdler’s contributions and facilitates discussions on the merits and drawbacks of censorship in literature.

Bowdler’s Day and Censorship Today

Bowdler’s Day serves as a reminder of the ongoing debates surrounding censorship in literature. In today’s society, where discussions on sensitive topics and content warnings are prevalent, the question of what should be censored and what should be left untouched remains relevant. Bowdler’s legacy prompts us to reflect on the balance between artistic expression and the need for accessible literature in an increasingly diverse world.

Embracing Bowdler’s Legacy

While opinions may differ on the merits of Bowdler’s work, his legacy continues to spark conversations and challenge our understanding of literature and censorship. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, Bowdler’s Day provides an opportunity to explore these themes and engage in meaningful discussions about the accessibility of literature for all readers.

7 Mind-Blowing Facts About Shakespeare

  1. Shakespeare’s Exact Date of Birth is Unknown:

While we celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23, 1564, the exact date remains a mystery. The date is based on the record of his baptism, which traditionally took place three days after a child’s birth.

2. Shakespeare’s Unique Spelling:

Shakespeare’s name is associated with a wide range of spellings. In his own signature, he spelled his name as “Willm Shaksp,” showing variations from the familiar “Shakespeare.” Such flexible spelling was common in the Elizabethan era.

3. An Impressive Vocabulary:

Shakespeare had an extraordinary command of the English language. He is credited with contributing over 1,700 words to the English language, including “eyeball,” “bedroom,” “fashionable,” and “moonbeam.”

4. The Globe Theater:

Shakespeare was a shareholder in the famous Globe Theatre, where many of his plays were performed. The theater was a circular structure with a thatched roof and could accommodate thousands of spectators. It was reconstructed in 1997 near its original location in London.

5. The Lost Play:

Shakespeare wrote around 39 plays that are still known today. However, one play, “Cardenio,” written in collaboration with John Fletcher, is believed to be lost. It was based on a character from Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.”

6. Sonnets and Love:

Shakespeare’s collection of 154 sonnets remains one of his most celebrated works. While many of the sonnets were dedicated to a young man and a mysterious “Dark Lady,” their identities continue to intrigue scholars and readers alike.

7. Translated and Performed Worldwide:

Shakespeare’s works have been translated into every major language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. From traditional stage productions to modern adaptations and film adaptations, his plays continue to captivate audiences worldwide.

International Bowdler’s Day Dates

2023July 11Tuesday
2024July 11Thursday
2025July 11Friday
2026July 11Saturday
2027July 11Sunday

Bowdler’s Day Quotes, Wishes & Messages

“Wishing you a delightful Bowdler’s Day filled with accessible literature and enjoyable reads!”

“May Bowdler’s Day inspire us to appreciate the importance of inclusive literature for readers of all ages. Happy Bowdler’s Day!”

“On this Bowdler’s Day, let us celebrate the power of words and the beauty of accessible literature. Enjoy a Bowdlerized adventure!”

“Sending you warm wishes on Bowdler’s Day. May this day remind us of the significance of making literature enjoyable for everyone?”

“May the spirit of Bowdler’s Day ignite a love for literature that knows no boundaries. Happy Bowdler’s Day!”

“Wishing you a Bowdler’s Day filled with books that captivate your imagination and language that resonates with your heart.”

“Celebrate Bowdler’s Day with an open mind, embracing the diversity of literature made accessible for all. Happy Bowdler’s Day!”

“May Bowdler’s Day be a reminder that literature has the power to unite, inspire, and touch the hearts of readers from all walks of life.”

“On this special day, let’s honor Thomas Bowdler’s legacy by promoting inclusive literature and encouraging a love for reading among all.”

“Wishing you a Bowdler’s Day filled with literary adventures, where the joy of reading knows no boundaries.”


Bowdler’s Day on July 11 is a celebration of Thomas Bowdler’s contributions to literature and his mission to create more accessible versions of classic works. Whether you appreciate his efforts or question the need for censorship, this holiday invites us to reflect on the importance of inclusivity in literature and encourages us to engage in thoughtful conversations about the role of censorship in society.


1. Was Bowdler’s work limited to Shakespeare’s plays?

No, although Bowdler is primarily known for his editions of Shakespeare, he also produced expurgated versions of other works, including the Bible and various classical texts.

2. Did Bowdler’s editions remove only explicit content?

Bowdler’s editions often went beyond removing explicit content. He also toned down elements that he considered morally questionable or culturally sensitive, altering the original texts to suit his vision of appropriateness.

3. Are Bowdlerized versions still widely read today?

While Bowdler’s editions were popular during the Victorian era, they have gradually fallen out of favor. Most readers now prefer to engage with the original, uncensored versions of literary works to fully appreciate the author’s intent and artistic expression.

4. Did Bowdler face any criticism during his time?

Yes, Bowdler faced criticism from some literary scholars and enthusiasts who believed that his editions compromised the integrity of the original texts. They argued that readers should have access to the unaltered versions to gain a comprehensive understanding of the works.

5. How can I participate in Bowdler’s Day celebrations if I’m not familiar with Bowdlerized versions of literature?

You can still participate by exploring the concept of censorship in literature and engaging in discussions about the balance between artistic expression and accessibility. Attend local events or join online communities where these topics are discussed, and share your thoughts and perspectives on the matter.

Leave a Comment