An abridgement (or abridgment) is a condensing or reduction of a book or other creative work into a shorter form while maintaining the unity of the source. The abridgement can be true to the original work in terms of mood and
Tone may refer to:
* Tone, mix of tint and shade, in painting and color theory
* Tone, the lightness
Lightness is a visual perception of the luminance (L) of an object. It is often judged relative to a similarly lit object. ...
, capturing the parts the abridging author perceives to be most important; it could be a complete
A parody, also called a spoof, a send-up, a take-off, a lampoon, a play on (something), or a caricature, is a creative work designed to imitate, comment on, and/or make fun of its subject by means of satire, satiric or irony, ironic imitation. Ofte ...
of the original or it could fall anywhere in between, generally capturing the tone and message of the original author but falling short in some manner or subtly twisting their words and message to favor a different interpretation or agenda.
A written work may be abridged to make it more accessible to a wider audience; for example, to make an adaptation of it as an
An audiobook (or a talking book) is a recording of a book or other work being read out loud. A reading of the complete text is described as "unabridged", while readings of a shorter version are an abridgement.
Spoken audio has been available in sc ...
A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set
A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
, to make a more convenient companion to an already-established work or to create a shorter reference version.
Unabridged is the opposite of abridged. A common example is an unabridged
A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arranged Alphabetical order, alphabetically (or by radical-and-stroke sorting, radical and stroke for ideographic languages), which may include in ...
Abridgement for audio
Abridgement is most often used to adapt a book or film into a narrated audio version. Because books written for adults are generally meant to be read silently to oneself, which is usually much faster than reading aloud, most books can take between 20 and 40 hours to read aloud. Because many audio book listeners are looking to listen to the information in a book more quickly and because of the high cost associated with recording and distributing 40 hours of audio, audio book versions of novels are often produced in an abridged version.
Some party, usually an editor for the book's publishing company, goes through the text of the book and removes elements, notations, references, narratives and sometimes entire scenes from a book that could be considered superfluous to the actual story or focus of the book in order to make its audible reading time shorter. A fully abridged audio book can span as little as 4 hours for a book that would span 20 hours unabridged.
The easiest content of a fiction book to edit out is
Back Story may refer to:
* ''Back Story'' (novel), a crime novel by Robert B. Parker
* ''Back Story'' (autobiography), an autobiography by David Mitchell
* Backstory, a set of events invented for a plot, presented as preceding and leading up ...
that is often provided for characters or story elements that help support the reality of the story for the reader but fails to provide any narrative to the story itself. For example, a passage such as "John sped away in his automobile, a red 1967 Mustang he'd purchased from a junkyard and spent most of his college years restoring with his father" could be abridged to "John sped away in his automobile, a red 1967 Mustang" or, if context permits, simply "John sped away."
Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document
A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfiction, non-fictional, as well as fictional, content. ...
piece, the most commonly abridged details are references, charts, details and facts that are used to support an author's claim. While it would be unprofessional or irresponsible to omit such details from a book, it is understandable for an audio book, as it is assumed the listener wants to hear the author's opinion, and the listener who needs to check the details may refer to the text.
Occasionally, an abridged audio book will be advertised as "abridgement approved by the author," which would imply that the original work's author has reviewed the trimmed down version of the work and agrees that the intention or narrative of the story has not been lost or that no vital information has been removed.
In many cases, an audio book for a popular title is available in both an abridged and unabridged version, but the abridged version often is released first and almost always costs significantly less than the unabridged version. Often, the two versions are produced independently of each other and may have different narrators. Unabridged versions of books are popular among those with poor eyesight or reading skills who wish to appreciate the entirety of the work, and the abridged version is more often preferred by those who want just a quick and entertaining way to follow the story.
On the radio (for example, in British
Book of the Week
''Book of the Week'' is a BBC Radio 4 series that is broadcast daily on week days. Each week, extracts from the selected book, usually a non-fiction work, are read over five episodes; each fifteen-minute episode is broadcast in the morning (9:45am) ...
Book at Bedtime
A book is a medium for recording information
Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteristics. The conc ...
Go 4 It
''Go4It'' was a British children's magazine programme broadcast on Sunday evenings at 7.15pm on BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British national radio station owned and operated by the BBC. It broadcasts a wide variety of Talk radio, spoken-word ...
for children), books are almost always abridged and so if someone were trying to read along with the book, one would find it much more difficult than on an audio book.
Abridgement for print
A shortened form of literary work in which the major themes of the original are kept occurs in books for faster and easier reading. The Signet Classics Abridged Works are notable examples of abridgment; the Signet Classics Bible, for example, is 40 percent shorter than the 850,000-word
King James Version
The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an of the Christian for the , which was commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611, by sponsorship of King . The include the 39 books of the , a ...
. Although well-known passages in abridged works are often left intact, editors may remove "repetition, rhetoric and redundancy" from a complete work.
Until roughly the mid-19th century, the act of abridgment was widely regarded as
Fair use is a doctrine in the law of the United States that permits limited use of copyrighted material without having to first acquire permission from the copyright holder. Fair use is one of the limitations to copyright intended to balance the ...
and was among the most frequently abused loopholes in British and American copyright law. However, by the 1870s, international outcry from authors and publishers alike prompted legislatures to consider revisions to end the "very unreasonable" principle.
While increasingly uncommon, some books are published as abridged versions of earlier books, which is most common in textbooks, usually lengthy works in complicated fields like
Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more speciali ...
Medicine is the science
Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...
. Abridged versions of popular textbooks are published to be used as
Study or studies may refer to:
* Clinical trial
* Observational study
* Study skills, abilities and approaches applied to learning
* Study (art), a drawing or series of drawing ...
aids or to provide enough surface information for the reader to become familiar with the material but not have a full understanding of it or its full scope.
Abridgement for television
Plays, notably by
William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...
, have very often been heavily abridged for television to fit them into ninety-minute or two-hour time slots. (The same is true of long classical ballets such as the two-and-a-half hour ''
"Sleeping Beauty" (french: La Belle au bois dormant), or "Little Briar Rose" (german: Dornröschen), also titled in English as "The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods", is a classic fairy tale
A fairy tale, fairytale, wonder tale, magic tale, fairy ...
'', which has almost never been performed complete on television.) It was done more often in the past than it is now (such as in ''
Hallmark Hall of Fame
''Hallmark Hall of Fame'', originally called ''Hallmark Television Playhouse'', is an anthology program on American television, sponsored by Hallmark Cards, a Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City–based greeting card company. The longest-running ...
'' from the 1950s to about 1970). With the advent of such noncommercially-sponsored PBS anthologies such as ''
''Great Performances'' is a television anthology series dedicated to the performing arts; the banner has been used to televise theatrical performances such as plays, musicals, opera, ballet, concerts, as well as occasional documentaries. It is pro ...
Live from Lincoln Center
''Live from Lincoln Center'' is a seventeen-time Emmy Award-winning series that has broadcast notable performances from the Lincoln Center in New York City on PBS since 1976. The program airs between six and nine times per season. Episodes of ''Li ...
'' and the ''
BBC Television Shakespeare
The ''BBC Television Shakespeare'' is a series of British television adaptations of the plays of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regar ...
'' plays, there is now less pressure to cram a play lasting at least three hours, such as ''
''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (baptism, bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and acto ...
'', into a two-hour time slot.
An abridged series is a fanmade parody series that uses footage from the original series, often filled with comedic redubbing. It is called "abridged" because episodes are not as long as the original episodes. Most of the abridged series that are created are based on
is hand-drawn and computer animation
Computer animation is the process used for digitally generating animated images. The more general term computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of ...
and uploaded onto
YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform
Social media are interactive technologies that allow the Content creation, creation or information sharing, sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, an ...
, which sometimes get taken down because of claims of
Copyright infringement (at times referred to as piracy) is the use of works
Works may refer to:
* Caddy Works
Pierce "Caddy" Works (January 2, 1896 – July 19, 1982) was an American basketball and baseball coach. He was the head ba ...
. The first abridged series, ''
is a Japanese manga
Japanese may refer to:
* Something from or related to Japan
, image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg
, alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white r ...
The Abridged Series'',
was created by Martin Billany, better known by his screen name LittleKuriboh, in 2006 and has since inspired multiple new ones.
Censorship in the arts