The Difficulties of Gender-Neutral Book Revisions

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It just so happens that a little birdie (the Internet) told us that the 2011 International Translation of the Bible is now gender-neutral! According to The Daily Beast (also on the Internet), “In instances where ‘he’ or ‘man’ is used to mean all people, some gender-neutral pronouns have been swapped in.” Okay, then. But, wait a minute — how do we know that this ends here? What will become of Mary and Joseph? What about David and Goliath? Will “The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit” now be “The Parent Figure, The Child, and The Holy Spirit?” We simply have too many questions.

Progressive (and ridiculous) souls that we are, we decided to see how it would work to give some of our favorite classic books the gender-neutral treatment. Things, uh, didn’t go so well. See for yourself below and add your own in the comments if you have them.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D. H. Lawrence

Moby-Dick, Herman Melville

All The King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

Emma, Jane Austen