I decided to compare two versions of Wilde’s Salome and while both are based on the Lord Alfred Douglas translation, there have been changes made to the translation. The first one I got from Project Gutenberg and the second, from ProQuest Literature online. The major difference I found was the way Iokanaan’s name was spelled. The Gutenberg version spelt it as Jokanaan, so there is a change from an I to a J. This change might allude to the fact that John The Baptist’s name starts with a J also. Another difference the comparison software caught is the different way the title was spelt. The ProQuest version does without the accent on top of the e, which when would make it sound different when pronounced. It no longer sounds remotely exotic and we have to remember that the play was first published in French and the accented e is as a result of that.
There is also little words changed in the style. The pro Quest uses archaic words and phrases such as thou wilt while Gutenberg uses you will. This might mean the Gutenberg version is a newer revision of Salome while the ProQuest is the older one, probably the original translation of the play. This different tells a lot about what the reason could be for why a newer version was produced. It was probably so it could appeal to a different, younger audience who might find the archaic words hard to deal with. It therefore switches them out with their common equivalent in today’s English.
Giving another example, in the ProQuest version, the line goes: If he die also, peradventure some evil may befall me. Verily, he has said that evil will befall some one on the day whereon he dies. On whom should it fall if it fall not on me?
And in the Gutenberg version, the line is: Furthermore, if he died some misfortune might happen to me. In any case, he said that the day he dies a misfortune will happen to some one. That could only be to me.
You can see clearly the difference in the words. Some words have been substituted for others in the Gutenberg version. There is a certain informality in the way it is written. It is also important to note that while the Gutenberg version included Audrey Beardsley’s illustrations, the ProQuest version did not. This affects the way you read the text and so of the two version, I prefer the Gutenberg version because it not only uses modern grammar and words, but it includes Beardsley’s illustration which is a vital part of the play.