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"The act of expurgating, purging, or cleansing; purification from anything noxious, offensive, sinful, or erroneous."

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Expurgation is a form of censorship which involves purging anything deemed noxious or offensive, usually from an artistic work.

It has also been called bowdlerization, after Thomas Bowdler, who in 1818 published an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare's work that he considered to be more appropriate for women and children. He similarly edited Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

A work that has been subjected to expurgation is sometimes called a fig-leaf edition, a figurative extension from the meme of strategically placed fig leaves to hide the groin or breasts of nudes in paintings or statuary.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Expurgation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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