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The Time Machine: Illustrated Classic Edition [Jul. 23rd, 2008|10:40 pm]
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english_major

[conrad_zaar]
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When I was a child I got great enjoyment out of the 1983 Illustrated Classics Edition of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. It was heavily abridged and the language was somewhat modernized, but it wasn't until several years later that I realized I hadn't been reading the real thing. Only last week, I finally got around to reading Wells' original, and enjoyed it immensely, but something seemed to be missing. I scrounged around for a while looking for my old Illustrated Classics copy (it turned out to be on my niece's bookshelf) and discovered that Shirley Bogart, who had performed the adaptation, had added a whole new chapter called "The Golden Age of Science" right before the Time Traveler's return to the 19th century.

The new chapter takes place in the 22nd century, in which technology has advanced considerably and the world has been reorganized by the World Science Governing Board, an idea that seems reasonably consistent with Wells' notions of social progress (although there's no mention of socialism). But one passage made me laugh aloud and confirmed that the chapter must have been an original creation by Bogart:

The first thing I noticed was four enormous portraits on the wall. They were all of people in white lab coats. In one, an Oriental woman was peering at a kind of chemical tube. In another, a black man sat by an elaborate microscope. In the third, a red-skinned woman was working was working with a tri-square and compass. And in the last, a white man stood in front of a blackboard covered with complicated symbols.

As a child, I didn't even pick up on the heavy-handed multiculturalism of this passage, but now it seems absurdly out of place in a story first published in 1895. Has anyone else had a similar experience with literary adaptations for children?


Cross-posted to english_major and english_majors. Sorry if this appears on your Friends page more than once.
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[User Picture]From: purple_nimbus
2009-03-29 07:59 pm (UTC)
I also read the Illustrated Classics' The Time Machine and I always wondered about that!
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