‘Profiteer’ was coined as a verb during the Napoleonic Wars and a noun in the First World War, when ‘illegal profiteering’ by opportunist ‘unscrupulous dealers’, the Times reported, proliferated in ‘aggravated form’. A Royal Proclamation of 31 August 1917 prohibited the import of bacon, butter, hams and lard except under government licence. Profiteering Acts were passed in 1919 and 1920, and newspapers reported on the plans of housewives’ unions to ‘beat the profiteering tradesman’.
I recently heard a couple of stories about health and safety suggestions made by children’s book editors. They are often along the lines of ‘we’re concerned that the character is in danger here,’ but breast-feeding was also a no-no in a book for eight to twelve-year-olds. The most famous editor as moral policeman is Thomas Bowdler, who in 1818 produced his Family Shakspeare [sic]. He was from a long line of Shakespeare sanitisers. A copy of the Second Folio now in the Folger Library in Washington preserves the often frustrated expurgatory efforts of William Sankey (signing himself Guillermo Sanchez), a 17th-century English Jesuit; the edition came from the English College in Valladolid. The pages are covered with Sankey’s redactions. What I like best about the book is the total absence of Measure for Measure. I wonder how much of the play he crossed out before giving up and ripping the whole thing out.