Education: Pre-Chewed Classics

In a society that placidly accepts the practice of condensing books for adults, only a doughty purist would object to cutting down literary classics to fit the minds of children. But such an objection came from the monthly Bulletin of the Council for Basic Education, a cranky, flea-sized (16 one-column pages) publication that subsists on what it bites from the hide of fuzzy-thinking educators. Among the pre-chewed classics cited by Editor Mortimer Smith: A Tale of Two Cities, from which, in the Globe Book Co. edition, "nonessential parts of the plot" are excised, and "long descriptive and philosophical passages" are abridged....