Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5
#997 03/31/00 04:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 9
C
stranger
OP Offline
stranger
C
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 9
My son and my class at school are mad about the 'Harry Potter' books. One child in my class, having holidayed recently in Florida, brought back an American copy of the first book. In America it is called '...and the Sorceror's Stone', whereas in the U.K. it is, '...and the Philosopher's Stone'.

Is there a difference in meaning between the two cultures to have required the alteration??


#998 04/02/00 01:43 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
J
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
Offline
Pooh-Bah
J
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
Perhaps it is just a simplification to meet the needs of a world-wide audience. Joanna Rowling is usually at the Edinburgh Book Festival so I'll ask her if I get a chance and feed-back her answer.

I heard a lovely story about why the play "The Madness of George III" was called the "Madness of King George" when it translated to film. It was because they thought that people would think they'd missed out on "The Madness of George I" and the "Madness of George II".




#999 04/02/00 03:21 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 1
M
stranger
Offline
stranger
M
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 1
Here in Canada the book is called "The Philospher's Stone". I find it hard to imagine, but such modifications to imported media are common for the US market.

For example, Mordecai Richler's novel "Barney's Version" was issued in Canada and England with a picture of a Cuban cigar on the cover. The US edition was changed to a non-Communist brand of cigar.

In another case, the movie "Eyes Wide Shut" had scenes of male genitalia edited out for the US audience. After much ivory tower debate, Canadians were treated to the US version rather than the European.

M.


#1000 04/02/00 04:27 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 7
C
stranger
Offline
stranger
C
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 7
I tend to think that the word "sorcerer" conjures up a magician, whereas the word "philosopher" in this context is heavier ( actually implying deep thought, heaven forbid). Since the market is child oriented, my feeling ( just personal) is that the marketing people might have thought that the change would sell more books. Why else do they do these things?


#1001 04/02/00 08:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
J
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
Offline
Pooh-Bah
J
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
On the subject of changing names. I heard that the only way that "Austin Powers - The Spy Who Shagged Me" got through its American certificate was that they didn't know what "Shagged" meant.


#1002 04/02/00 08:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,511
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,511
I've not read the Potter books, though I've seen them on the shelves -- it is possible that "philosopher's stone" (the alchemist's tool to convert metal into gold) is not as widely-known a term in the U.S. as it is in the U.K., hence the cross-Pond title change to something more "magical"?


#1003 04/02/00 08:29 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
J
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
Offline
Pooh-Bah
J
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981

#1004 04/02/00 08:32 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
J
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
Offline
Pooh-Bah
J
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
I understand that some parents in the USA have said that their children should not read the book as it encourages an interest in the occult. I find this very strange. I think people here just think its a very good story.

Or is this just a marketing tactic to keep the book in the headlines?

#1005 04/03/00 04:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
Carpal Tunnel
Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
I'm afraid that "philosopher's stone" is way too much of a literary allusion to work in the American marketplace.


#1006 04/03/00 10:32 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 39
J
newbie
Offline
newbie
J
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 39
jmh,

The Potter books are truly a sensation in the states. No other books of any kind sell as well. All the kids in my nephew's class love them. As far as I can see, there seems to be little reservation on the part of parents, to their kids reading them. I think most parents feel that these books are a far better activity than TV or computer games. Besides, with the ubiquity of sex and violence in our lives, it's hard to imagine anything in these books to grouse about. Perhaps a word of explanation to kids would be wise, to disabuse any foolish notions they may have of the occult, but stories of the occult have traditionally been a mainstay of children's literature in America as well as Europe. Disney has imprinted the quitessential sorcerer story on every child's psyche, with his animated sequence "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", which has been retained in the sequal to "Fantasia", called "Fantasia 2000". Any parent who objects to stories of this genre for their children, would likely be in the extreme minority.


Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5

Moderated by  Jackie 

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,904
Posts228,043
Members9,148
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
gonekrazzzy, accCngrssMRA, rexdee, gypsydancer, Astrostu
9,148 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 79 guests, and 3 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,542
LukeJavan8 9,805
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2021 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5
(Release build 20201027)
Responsive Width:

PHP: 7.4.26 Page Time: 0.013s Queries: 34 (0.005s) Memory: 2.9367 MB (Peak: 3.2482 MB) Data Comp: Off Server Time: 2021-12-03 06:15:12 UTC
Valid HTML 5 and Valid CSS