The magic of Enid Blyton
Who was Enid Blyton?
Born in 1897 in East Dulwich, London, England, Enid Blyton became one of the world’s best-loved authors of children’s books in the 20th century. She died in 1968 after a distressing period of ill health; she was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium where her ashes still remain.
Her books have been translated into many languages – she is the fifth most translated author in the world, with over 3,500 translations. An estimated 800 books over 40 years is an admirable achievement.
Characters such as Brer Rabbit and Noddy, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven have enchanted and enthralled children for almost 9 decades.
Many of her works courted controversy in the 1960s due to their characters and language; much has changed and many battles were fought to try and strike a balance between retaining her literary style and meeting the modern day pressures of political correctness.
What’s the story?
The stories are many and varied. Their pace and language, moral messages and quiet comfort can still enchant and hold interest.
Rather than list many here I commend a search of either the Enid Blyton Society at http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk or http://www.enidblyton.net to discover more about her considerable literary output.
My purpose here is not to list and highlight but rather to open the world of Enid Blyton to new readers or to those who may have been touched by her books in childhood as I was, but their enchantment and excitement is lost in the memory cupboard of adulthood.
My experience of the books
As a child I was always surrounded by books, they became a joy and a comfort, an escape and a great place to find out things! Knowledge and adventure remain two great ‘draws’ for me and one of my great loves is historical fiction for that very reason.
The likes of Brer rabbit; Tales of Long Ago and Happy Hours to name but a few transported me away to distant lands in some stories – or to the wonders of nature in others.
Much of my early knowledge and interest of nature was from the world of the Adventures of Pip; a fairy who’s adventures involved birds, animals trees and flowers. Simple stories, but ones that quietly wove nature’s wonders into the tapestry of fiction.
Another gem was Tales of long Ago – wondrous fables of ancient Greece, the Arabian nights, Aladdin, Ali Baba and Sinbad.
These gentle and ageless tales can inspire both an interest in literature in its early splendours and also the history of the ancient world from which they spring.
The tale of how the Peacock came to have its tail enchants me to this day, along with Pandora and her whispering box; Midas and the touch of gold; The Wings of Icarus and sad tale of Echo and Narcissus.
All can be found in other literary forms, but their simple re-telling by Blyton gave them a simple magic and held the reader in their gentle rhythm.
But, what of Blyton in 2001 – the 21st century Blyton with all the neutrality of language that our world now demands.
To browse the web and find new editions of Blyton is easy, but to experience the original versions first is to understand her style and the joys that it brought.
I commend a site to you that tells better than I of the differences, the link is in the section below, by the Book Jotter.
The author in this excellently written review of one of Blyton’s books and contrasts and compares the grammar and descriptive text of the originals and the modern day editions.
So – see what you make of Enid Blyton; find again the enchantments and stories that touched your childhood or indeed discover her afresh as a new literary experience in 2011.
- The BBC\'s ban on Enid Blyton says more about its shortcomings than hers | Television & radio |
Michael Hann: My parents banned Enid Blyton's books but the BBC should not have done the same
- BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | The mystery of Enid Blyton\'s revival
Golliwogs, goblins and girls - definitely not boys - doing the washing-up. It's easy to see why Enid Blyton's books went out of fashion. But now her work is enjoying a surprise comeback.
Amazon Blyton collection