A Vegan Christmas Carol: Veganization Note #1
Some editorial and re-authoring choices to be made in the veganizing process are pretty straightforward. In this series pertaining to A Vegan Christmas Carol, beginning with an example of this straightforward editing / re-authoring type makes sense, as it can later serve as a touchstone when facing more difficult choices.
“… panting like race-horses….”
The original text of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol includes the following passage, which refers to Scrooge and his workmate, Dick Wilkins, who are busily preparing their workplace for Fezziwig’s big Christmas party:
You wouldn’t believe how those two fellows [Ebenezer Scrooge and Dick Wilkins] went at it! They charged into the street with the shutters—one, two, three—had ’em up in their places—four, five, six—barred ’em and pinned ’em—seven, eight, nine—and came back before you could have got to twelve, panting like race-horses.
Clearly, the reference to racehorses will not survive the veganizing process: the so-called “sport” of horse-racing is violent, cruel, and often fatal for the horses involved.
Chosen method for editing / re-authoring the passage
At this point, the editor can either (i) delete the reference to horses and horse-racing altogether, thus “abridging” the underlying work to a small degree, or (ii) replace it with a suitable substitute of similar meaning, content, style, length, and so on. In either case, we would want to avoid excising any more material than necessary. In A Vegan Christmas Carol, the latter choice was made, such that the last phrase of the passage now reads:
… panting like two boys after a race…..
This approach allows us to keep the intended meaning of the last phrase, retain the strong visual image of “panting,” and even retain the reference to racing—all while excluding the animal exploitation imagery.
This type of “minimally invasive” approach provides an excellent example of what we’ll strive to achieve when veganizing other passages.