“I recently uploaded The Queen of Hearts (a collection of novels written in the 1850s) by Wilkie Collins to the MR library. As well as changing ‘gayety’ to ‘gaiety’ and ‘gayly’ to ‘gaily’ I also changed ‘gay’ to ‘light-hearted’. I did this because the English language has changed in the last 150 odd years. In our day ‘a gay man’ would almost certainly be read as ‘a homosexual man,’ and this is simply not what Collins meant – he would have used a different term if he had dared to mention a character’s sexual orientation at all. I did add a note to the posting that I had updated spelling and hyphenation – I also changed ‘to-day’ to ‘today’ for example.”
I am still unsure how I feel about this. ~ eP
Wtf? Why would someone change the original text?? Anyone with half a brain/education knows that until less than 100 years ago, “gay” meant “happy”. Are we supposed to cut up every other classic work and replace their “outdated” words with modern ones? Language evolves, and people who read books written a long time ago are perfectly aware of this. If it’s a 160+ year old book that people are still reading, I’d imagine that the author was very intentional with his/her word choice, and for someone to alter them later on when converting the text to a format that may be widely disseminated is a travesty.
This made me really angry.