When our teacher was introducing the next reading assignment, he said we'll be using the unexpurgated version. What did he mean?

To expurgate means to censor; to remove passages (from a book, film, and so on) considered obscene or objectionable.

Many popular books and works of classic literature have been, at times, expurgated or even banned from classrooms and libraries — for example:

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The idea of expurgation even appears in Lord Byron's satirical poem Don Juan: Donna Inez supervises her son's education. Although Juan receives a thorough training in the arts and sciences, his mother wants him to learn nothing about the basic facts of life — partly by having him study the classics from censored editions:

Juan was taught from out the best edition,
Expurgated by learned men, who place
Judiciously, from out the schoolboy's vision,
The grosser parts; but, fearful to deface
Too much their modest bard by this omission,
And pitying sore his mutilated case,
They only add them all in an appendix
Which saves, in fact, the trouble of an index . . .