Talk About Blyton!

Unlisted - Enid Blyton in general – Why update books?

September 5, 2007 – Nitya says: It's so sad to see that most of EB's books are updated. The names of cars in most books I've read are Rolls Royce, Ford Fiesta, etc. Surely all these didn't exist in Blyton's days? Why do the publishers update books? It spoils EB's style of writing. The originality is lost. Wish they would stop that.
September 10, 2007 – rogoz says: The "originality is lost" because the Original is long gone! The main reason is that trade names often become obsolete in 70 years hence the reader can't tell if it's a Car or a Cook-top. Did you know the "Aga" was a common type of stove ? A reader today might think it a person ! And whoops - the Rolls-Royce car started in 1904 and certainly existed in Blyton's day. Fords have been around since 1903 although the Fiesta model started 1976. Also, a publisher's update should convey the subtext of the word alteration - in your example, a Rolls Royce is only used by very rich people inc. hired driver whereas the Ford Fiesta is a fairly humble working man's car. Most other updates are to correct frightful mistakes e. g. Georgina wearing a dress !
September 10, 2007 – Hari Menon says: The venerable Rolls-Royce dates back to the early years of the 20th century, when Enid Blyton was a little girl, so you're wrong on that count. But I agree the Ford Fiesta is out of place. I wish they'd stick to Bentleys and Austins.
September 12, 2007 – Garry says: I hate the fact that they "update" classic childrens books in the name of idiotic political correctness. I read my old books to my son and if there is one that I dont have, then I buy second hand. Apparently I have been told to go for pre 1982 editions which usually haven't been meddled with.
September 13, 2007 – rogoz says: I suggest updating / error correction is one thing and political correctness is another because the intention is quite different. SS badges for the Secret Seven are hard to beat for tacky material and today there is a world full of readers ready to beat publishers over the head - who, by the way, are in business to sell books, so PC changes are a response to "public taste". What's more, the changes are mostly cosmetic and thankfully for social historians the really offensive material of Blyton is so embedded that a big re-write would be necessary to remove it. Perhaps the mildest example is the American, Mr Henning, (Finniston Farm) who comes over to buy up old English wares for resale back home. The way Blyton huffs and puffs with patriotic fervor, he is no better than some yankee Pirate, although she conveniently forgets the British Museum is stuffed full of looted antiquities... um, Pot calling the Kettle black? And although one of the finest Five books, its release in 1942 must have been Very Amusing to Britons trying to get the USA to join the war - did Blyton ever pick up a newspaper?
September 14, 2007 – Jeni says: Aw... Rogoz, I truly admire your writing; I find you indescribably intelligent; but... by chance, do you have anything - ANYTHING at all - GOOD to say about Enid Blyton??! Forgive my curiosity, I know what it did to the cat, I still got about 8 lives to go; so pardon my inquisitiveness: just how old ARE you? I suspect you're much older/wiser than a teenager, by reason of your awesome writing.
September 14, 2007 – Jeni says: I'm WITH Gary; it's ridiculous to keep changing the classics. Why, the very moniker 'classic' refers to the fact that the writing remains the same as the day it was written by the author - in this case, an author who lived decades ago (maybe 'generations' ago).
September 14, 2007 – Jeni says: ROGOZ, come on!!! What's wrong with Georgina wearing a dress?! SHE'S a girl, for goodness' sake! And girls DO wear dresses, correct? (some men do also, but that's another can of worms we ain't gonna open here) (don't anybody dare take up THIS thread and continue with it (men in dresses)). And yet again, I'm WITH the others on this website, I am AGAINST changing any of the original writings of these classic authors JUST to keep up with the times. These times are full of turmoil - when was the last time YOU picked up a newspaper? It's so refreshing to find words long lost in meaning and it's purely a thrill for me to do the research necessary to line up my brain with the original meanings of words used in these novels, now no longer in use (I'm referring to the language used back then).
September 15, 2007 – Ilsa says: While agreeing that unnecessary up-dating is to be deplored I must take issue with Rogoz regarding Finniston Farm. One of the finest Five books?? - There are a few I'd put ahead of it, but the point made about its release in 1942 is wrong. This book was written in 1960 - ages after the war. In most of Enid's books, if she is making a "baddy" of a person of another nationality than her own, she is careful to balance this by making another character give a different view - in the case of Finniston Farm it is Anne who says "I like most Americans but...". As for filling museums with items acquired by dubious means, I should think most countries could hold their hands up to having some things on display whose origin may be somewhat questionable! And yes, I'm quite sure Enid did read newspapers, but wouldn't have allowed current affairs to influence her writing.
September 18, 2007 – rogoz says: I must admit the perversion of Tom-boy Georgina wearing a dress fair took my breath away, so too the Publishers, who revised it from 'Adventuring Again'. What were Tom-boy readers supposed to think? Almost as bad as 'Dick boiled an Egg'. Sorry, tasteless joke; I never read that.
September 19, 2007 – Jeni says: Rogoz, forgive me in advance for stating my opinion on this (I'm in disagreement with a LOT of your thoughts) but it's thinking like that (what you wrote), that causes people a LOT of stress. Case in point: In days gone by, men were seen as sissies if they cried, so instead they bottled up their pain, and studies have now proven that men who bottle up their emotions (and women also) encounter lots of health problems, including stress, heart disease and lots of them end up dying of stress related illnesses. So please, let's encourage our men to cry now (if they need to) in order for them to live longer, shall we? So let's CHEER Dick on when he boils that egg, OK (even if he makes a HUGE mess doing it) (and for goodness sake, give poor Dick an APRON so he doesn't mess up his shirt and tie). Last night I attended a dinner event where prizes were awarded by ticket holders and etc. , and one lady won an apron, beautifully made. I made the comment to her, Wow Linda, looks like you'll be making your husband's steaks in style; her response to me sent me into fits of laughter. She replied, "Oh, Dan will be wearing this!" (Dan is her husband and he happens to LOVE to cook AND boil eggs.) ps: Tom-boy readers can think whatever they want to think, so long as they don't push their opinions onto other people. It's OK for them to state their opinions, but they're not allowed to force it onto other people or JUDGE people either. pps: About tomboys like myself; I remember being in a 'spinning (stationary bicycles) class' at the WTC tower 1 where most of the class consisted of MEN. I was only one of 2 women and I took pride in myself in being able to keep up with the men in that class (1-hour class). By the end of the class, my clothes were soaking with sweat and I had downed about 1/2 gallon of water, so you can imagine how difficult the class was. And guess what I did at the end of that day?: I went out to dinner with friends, I wore a beautiful dress, made up my face fully complete with lipstick, high heels, perfume and proceed to show off my muscular legs I acquired from that spinning class. You see Rogoz, being a tomboy has its benefits too. cheers. NOW what are your thoughts, Rogoz? This was kind of long, but I hope I got my point across. Let me know if I didn't.
September 20, 2007 – rogoz says: Ilsa may be right about 1960 but my copy of 'Finniston Farm' says 'first published in 1942'. 1960 would make a lot more sense re Americans. There was a poll which has this fine book about number 5, so it's not just my opinion. I've read the 'balance' theory before but don't agree since Blyton trowels it on and the damage is done - it can't be undone or neutralized somewhere else. To the adult reader, the book is a good comedy yarn, but here the PC brigade step in and say 'Well, I don't want 9 year olds to read all that anti-American stuff'. Of course, this is a mild case; Henning is no criminal - no worse than that fellow you wish you never met at a Real Estate Convention!
Inspector Jenks says... Inspector Jenks says: 1942? I've heard of that misprint before, although whether it was this or another book I can't be sure. But anyway, Treasure Island (the first book) was published in 1942, whereas Finniston Farm was 1960.
November 30, 2007 – Fiona says: So if EB's work should be changed to encourage men and women being equal, should we now start on Jane Austin or Charles Dickens? I mean we could change their horse and carts/carriages to cars, their shillings to 10p and so on. It's ridiculous! Some of the changes slot in fairly neatly like the car types, however I think it would be confusing to kids, because in the books with modern cars many other things such as the children's clothing and speech are very old fashioned. Besides, the money changing has become a farce. The kids at Whyteleaf get 2 shillings pocket money. So what does one publisher change it to - 20p, enough to buy a really cheap packet of crisps or sweets and not much else. Why not make it something believable like two pounds?
December 11, 2007 – richard says: By far the best way of appreciating Blyton's books is to have a look on E-Bay and pick up the early 1970s editions in paperback. They rarely cost more than a pound and are not 'messed about' by politically correct editors. I realise that some aspects of the books are strange to modern readers. I read them as a child in the 1970s and had forgotten how VIOLENT they are. In my mystery series, for instance, poor Luke, the garden boy, is routinely beaten up by his horrible boss, his awful stepfather and then wrongly accused (stiched up) by Goon, the corrupt policeman. Goon, meanwhile actually hits his nephew around the head and even canes him. Pip, we're told, is also caned by his father on 'two or three' occasions. But all this is part of social historical interest and the sense of life in post-war England. The way the children treat servants and anyone who isn't middle class is also revealing and interesting. They should leave the books as they were intended - modern children will learn an interesting lesson in recent British history.
December 12, 2007 – rogoz says: The 'books as they were intended' were for the average 9 y. o. who would have been familiar with the social conditions at the time. Moving forward 60 years to changed social conditions means the text should be revised to retain the original impact. The publishers understand this, likewise they modify references to child cruelty and other unpleasant historical realities. Above all, Blyton wrote to be immediately clear to the reader - there's very few words that would stop the average child [ except 'catacombs' ] So preserving her approach means paradoxically changing the text. Is it better to preserve her method or the mouldy 1st editions ? Austen's [ Austin ?? ] main novels were for adults, who today should swot up on 19th century England to understand some obscure points. This is not what you'd expect a child to do with Blyton; I'm sure she'd be horrified!
December 17, 2007 – Fiona says: I think you have seriously underestimated your average nine year old, Rogoz. I read the Famous Five, Adventure and Secret series for the first time around that age and I had no trouble understanding the books (most of which were 50's hardbacks). I understood the fact that they were set in the past, and accepted that people in farm houses had maids and cooks, that cars were rare, and that girls were to be looked after by their brothers, and not all houses had electricity. I understand why publishers would remove the use of the word "nigger" in a children's book as this is now an unacceptable word, however changing a black man to a white man serves no purpose. Re-writing Blyton's books to be set in the current age simply would not work. Kids would simply wonder why the FF weren't sitting watching TV all the time! Large parts of text would have to be removed such as in "Five on Kirrin Island Again", where George says she has never seen a Television before!
December 18, 2007 – Nigel Rowe says: How I agree, Fiona. Rogoz, I am sorry, but you really do underestimate the average 9 year-old. Do you mean to say that a nine year-old cannot read Dickens, Shakespeare, Austen etc.? Come on, give them some credit! Yes, terms such as "nigger" probably should be changed - I have no problem with that. Otherwise, leave well alone.
January 19, 2008 – barbara brennan says: I am now 60 years old and have been collecting EBs since the 50s and have hundreds and hundreds, all in order, mostly hardbacks with DJs and some first editions. I have loved them all my life and re read them often. Enjoy exploring garage sales and old book shops. Where I live on the South coast of NSW, Australia there is an island off the coast called Montague Island so that could explain why I love Famous Five so much! Really enjoying my second childhood.
January 31, 2008 – rogoz says: I'm sure there is a 9 y. o. somewhere who reads Dickens etc. but the evidence for average readers is quite different. Shadow schools secretary Michael Gove has said that, currently, '20% of children leaving primary school were incapable of reading, rising to 40% of children from poorer backgrounds.' 18/11/2007 BBC. Another report said 40% of the general population have trouble getting through a newspaper. Blyton's background as a teacher made her well aware of reading ability and she wrote accordingly.
February 14, 2008 – Jenny Pilmore says: I was reading the comments posted on this site - fantastic site as well, I myself have been an Enid Blyton fan for over thirty years and still read her books today. I would very much like to get into touch with Barbara Brennan who lives in NSW, as I live in Adelaide Australia - could you please pass on my email address to her so we can correspond? Thanks very much my email address is jbpilmore@bigpond.com
Inspector Jenks says... Inspector Jenks says: Posted here because Barbara didn't leave her email address -- hopefully she'll read your message and get in touch. :-)
February 24, 2008 – Penelope Vie says: I love Enid Blyton so much!! It saddens me so much because her works are altered and changed in order to save the people from harm. Let me ask this: WHAT HARM A BOOK CAN DO TOWARDS ITS READER? Poisoning the child? Killing the child?
August 17, 2008 – Becky-MA student says: Hi, I'm an MA student writing a dissertation on whether publishers should re-edit children's books for political correctness. I know you've probably discussed this to death, but I'd appreciate any input from Blyton fans! I've spoken to one publisher, for example, who won't print many Noddy books. How do you all feel about this or editing in other Blyton books?
August 25, 2008 – Aishwarya says: I'm completely against Blyton's books being changed for the sake of 'political correctness'. I don't remember the term 'nigger' being used in any of her books, but if it has indeed been used, that would be one of the only changes appropriate, in my opinion, under the name of political correctness. Other than that (and typos, obviously), it's much better to leave her books untouched. I mean, isn't it better for children to learn about a different kind of society, rather than to read only about a modern lifestyle (which they're probably very used to anyway?) It's better to learn about something new rather than change it so that young readers find it more familiar. What's wrong with learning new stuff? Like Ms. Grayling says to Jo's father, "Don't you think it is better for Josephine to conquer the cold water rather than for the cold water to conquer Josephine?" Okay, maybe not the best analogy, but hopefully I'm getting my point across. Besides, kids today aren't that gullible. They'll understand that certain things such as girls being very protected, etc. Were usual in that time, and times have now changed. And finally, changing the books like that rather takes away from the charm of her books.
January 3, 2009 – Maria says: What I find so jolly strange is that people nowadays (according to popular report) seem to be able to do a lot less than we did. When I was a Blyton-devouring kid in the 1950s and 60s, it was not at all peculiar or unusual to read adult books at the age of 9, but now I read here (see rogoz) that "20% of children leaving primary school were incapable of reading". Etcetera. What has happened? I refuse to believe that people are getting less intelligent! Maybe people nowadays are treating children as morons instead of intelligent human beings? And if so, why? And what exactly does rogoz mean by child cruelty? My father spanked me VERY occasionally, but looking back I can say that I was being a little pest and richly deserved it! Finally, may I add that children themselves (bless them) never change. It's the parents that change, seemingly not for the better either.
January 4, 2009 – rogoz says: Hi Maria - I couldn't say if literacy has improved over the last 60 years - maybe it was always pretty bad - you'd have to find a comparative study done by a reputable body [ not the Daily Astonishment ]. Michael Grove only commented on today's situation.
January 17, 2009 – Philip Mannering says: Rogoz is certainly correct - at least his point applies here, anyway. A 9 year old certainly wouldn't be able to read Dickens Shakespeare etc. , for one thing, he wouldn't understand the language used, and second, what's to interest him in a book written for an adult audience? No, certainly at least in India mostly there are 9 year olds reading such type of books. Gosh - even 10 year olds have trouble deciphering some of Blyton's language, and mostly they are not reading Blyton. Mostly interested in. Well, of course you know - Television. Thankfully not all kids all like this (I'm pleased to say I'm one of those who loves books and says television is just not in comparison with them).
January 18, 2009 – Laura says: But then, Philip; Dickens and Shakespeare both wrote their books/plays for an older audience than nine year olds, and there is no embarrassment for a child not to be able to understand some of the words used. Blyton, on the other hand, was writing for children, and, although her language is often interesting and colourful, it was not, in my opinion, very difficult to understand, even, or particularly, in the originals. I would much prefer to keep in all the original text, and if children are uneducated enough not be able to understand the books, they can always read them at a later age. I first read the FF at about six, and the other series a bit later, whereas my eight year old brother has only just started reading the FF and SS now, and finds even the FFO too boring (read, difficult) at the moment. Every child is different, and will read, or not, any books when they feel ready.
January 19, 2009 – rogoz says: Thanks for your kind remark Philip, but N. B. The Moderators here say 99% of posts get rejected due to poor English composition - and if you can't read, you certainly can't write. If that's not agreeable then another concept is that modern English is a passing fad, only 200 years old, and the sooner we get back to local spelling and dialects, the better. Is that important? You can tell Blyton wasn't from "oop North " because she left out the " becks " and " tarns " just to name a few.
Fatty says... Fatty says: You know what they say about statistics.... ;-)
January 19, 2009 – Jeni says: I hate to sound prejudiced, but "modern English' is the absolutely best language in the world! Why? It's forgiving, it is all encompassing, it is easy to learn (depends on which culture you're from, of course!) and it adapts itself continuously to accommodate peoples of many cultures and also adopts certain acceptable 'slang' terminologies to suit the local English populace! Now if that's not the best language, I don't know what is! Blyton had the hang of it in her time! (Bless her heart).
Fatty says... Fatty says: Top drawer, me ol' beauty!
January 19, 2009 – Jeni says: I agree wholeheartedly with Laura!!
January 19, 2009 – sophie says: Personally I don't think their is any need to change the EB books, for children do understand that they are set in a different time period, I personally enjoyed it more set like that for it gave it extra flavour.
January 22, 2009 – Hmm - A Sceptic says: Jeni (2009-01-19) you say English is the best. REALLY? It's difficult to prounounce, it's difficult to spell, it's difficult ro write, it's difficult to understand, it's difficult to explain, gosh, its VERY difficult! Now can you say it's the best? Hurrah (for other languages). *a Sceptic hmms MOST things*.
January 22, 2009 – Claire says: My 8 year old loves EB and doesn't have any problems reading them (some of her pronounciations on names are slightly unusual though) and she started on them a year ago. Oh and most of the ones she's read are the 'original' versions, out of my parents loft from when I was small (some of which I inherited from my mother) so it shows you don't need to update them.
January 22, 2009 – jeni says: As I said previously, some people from other cultures may not agree with me as to English being the absolutely best language in the world. I'll reiterate again: that English is very forgiving; it takes a lot of abuse; it is generally understood despite grammatical or other errors, allows for mispronunciation (how many other languages can boast the same?!), is constantly being reinvented; and even allows newly created/formed words (including 'slang'!) to be added to the permanent dictionary!
January 23, 2009 – Alicia says: I think updating the books should be referred to as "murdering the books". They were written quite a a long time ago which means the language used, the habits of the people, the culture ect. Would all be very different from what what is used today. But that doen't give the publishers the excuse to update the books just so that they'd seem like they were written recently. There's something special about the way Blyton's books are written - they might be old but those kind of book don't fade out or are never considered "ancient". Phillip Mannering - I read Dickens books when I was 9. But I do agree with the fact that they were written for an older audience.
January 23, 2009 – Fiona B says: I totally agree with you Alicia, and may I suggest "Bookicide" as a term for the mindless updating of Blyton books?
January 23, 2009 – Mini says: I think that updating books of Enid Blyton's is unfair. I read and re-read and re-re-read Enid Blyton books all the time and their are never any posh cars in them, in fact it's normally a black car, that the inspector drives or the bad guys.
January 24, 2009 – Alicia says: Fiona, thanks. And I think 'Bookicide' is perfect in describing the murdering/updating of EB's books.
February 21, 2009 – Damaris says: Hello, maybe you can help me. I bought the 2005 edition of the St. Clare's series. Now I would like to know if it is exactly the same text as the original edition of 1941. Have later editions ever been altered or updated?
Bets says... Bets says: I'm not sure if the school books have been updated - perhaps someone else can tell?
February 22, 2009 – Javier says: Hello Damaris. I have not read the new editions of the St. Clare's series but in her article "Almost as good as Malory Towers", Laura Canning points out that the books have been updated in places, She gives some examples: "shillings" are now "pounds", "grandmothers" are now "grannies". She also mentions some "updates" in her reviews of the series. All this information is on the St. Clare section in this website.
February 25, 2009 – Damaris says: Hello Javier, thank you very much for your help. I have read the information given on this site but I still don't know if we are talking about minor alterations ('pound' instead of 'shilling' etc.) or bigger things. Have the pusblishers changed only a few words ('sew a button on' instead of 'sew a button on an shoe') or have they altered the style of writing or even - horror! - abbreviated the stories? As I live in Germany it's a bit more difficult for me to buy the older editions, I will probably not find them at the next garage sale! Damaris.
March 10, 2009 – Rach says: The changes that really get to me are the pointless ones they provided in the Faraway Tree series. Changing Bessie's name to Beth and Fanny to Frannie? I suppose I can just about understand the changing of Fanny's name but really, I dealt with it as a child. And what's wrong with Bessie?!
March 11, 2009 – Andy says: Enid is definitely an old fashioned name. I wouldn't be surprised if Enid's name was updated too, as well as her books. Perhaps Emma Blyton would be more 'now'. He he.
July 18, 2009 – LanaB says: I know that this is pretty late to be giving a reply but I have only recently found this great website! I have been a collector of Blyton books for nearly 20 years (since I was a child) and have now got over 300 of her books including several 1st editions. In collecting these books I have had to buy repeats of several books as I found to my disgust the numerous changes that have been made in the new editions. It is precisely because of its quaint timeliness that I enjoyed them so much as a child, it let my imagination soar as I pictured a simpler time when children had more freedoms and technology didn't govern every second of the day! Even though I consider myself a feminist I enjoyed the idea that girls were to be protected; I saw it as respect towards women rather than a denial of female rights. After all, the books are there to serve the imaginations of children rather than depict the typical lifestyle of today's child. I believe that all of the original aspects of Blyton's books should be preserved, 'warts and all', to enable future generations a more realistic glimpse into the world of Blyton's stories.
August 5, 2009 – Jason says: I dont know anything about PC, but it's stupid that changes in any kind of literature are made. Come on, how closed-minded can you be? Its okay if words or phrases that you can't understand easily due to timeframe difference are changed, to adapt to current generations, but why change Bessie to Beth?? So what if it's a nickname seldom used for Elizabeth? Dont tell me in this whole world no one ever used that before. And its just a nickname, man. Why don't they change Shakespear then? Some of his works are dark in nature such as Life's Brief Candle; well, why not ban it altogether, since what he talks about is life being pointless, a hollow existence filled with misery and despair. Do they want to fill everyone's head with false perceptions of negativity? Accordingly, some people with so little faith in kids and teenagers to differentiate what is right or wrong and use common sense, readers can be so closed-minded as to take toy black golliwogs in a simple story book meant for 7-year-olds as a hidden meaning to insult african-americans (why not go after the makers of those toys then?). Imagine the effects it can have on the 'impressionable' young generation of a piece of literature that says outright that life is meaningless?
August 5, 2009 – Jason says: Sorry for the double posting. I forgot to mention one thing. In some countries where education is important, like mine, Shakespear is read by 12 yr olds onwards, eg Life's Brief Candle is taught to 12 yr olds here (and these teen years would be one of the most impressionable part of a person), so dont say Shakespear is just intended for adult audiences.
August 9, 2009 – April June says: I agree completely with Alicia. I hate it when publishers update the books -- it's so unfair! I read a few of the original Enid Blyton books -- I don't remember the title that much -- when I was six, and they were from my mother's parents when they were children. There were a couple of unusual words, but I enjoyed looking them up and finding the meanings to them. Other than that, I found the books very enjoyable indeed. I don't see why the publishers should update the books -- most children will still be able to read them perfectly. And it would be fun, perhaps, for the children to look up words, just like it was for me. And as quite a lot of the Enid Blyton books are read by children seven years and older, the children should be able to find out the meanings of any words that they find unusual. I read completely original works of Dickens when I was nine. They were my grandmother's books. I'm ten now, and I find that Enid Blyton's books have no need whatsoever to be updated; though I confess that some parts of Dicken's stories were hard for me to interpret the meaning of. However, Enid Blyton's style of writing, and her words, are very easy to read -- so why update them and take away the originality?
August 17, 2009 – JK says: Well I'm 13 years old and I first read all our EB books when I was about 6 or 7 and I never had a scrap of trouble with old car names an the other things listed here. All our copies of EB books I'd say are at least 30 years old, and we've got nearly all of them. I was disgusted when I bought a new Faraway Tree book (We'd lost our old copy) and the names had been changed. These originals are the first books that got me to read, and I'm getting the older editions where I can.
August 18, 2009 – Alicia says: JK, good luck with your search. It's incredibly hard to find original works of EB that haven't been updated. And even if you do, they cost a fortune. I just realised what a fool I am. I turned down a copy of 'Upper-Fourth at Malory Towers' just because it was edited and because I've read it a lot of times. And I bought a copy of 'Left At The Altar' for 4. 99 Pounds. Gah!
Fatty says... Fatty says: If you're lucky, there are still some bargains to be found on eBay.
August 18, 2009 – Alicia says: Fatty, I don't think 2 Pounds is enough to get a book on eBay. And my Dad would blow his top if he found out I ordered a book online when there are several bookstores nearby. But thanks anyway.
August 18, 2009 – John K says: I actually have better luck just looking through second-hand books shops. Enid Blyton's are quite common even in small towns in Australia!
April 28, 2010 – James Waters says: I've been reading Enid Blyton to my children (5 and 4). I'm appalled at the changes in the modern editions: so disrespectful to Blyton's text. We're left with children speaking in a 1940s way and living in a 1940s way dressed with contemporary details, it's very confusing. I've ditched any new editions and sought out the originals, even found in my parents attic a 1969 Dean edition of the Three Golliwogs (which doesn't have the 'n' word in it). But I've explained to my children that 'golliwog' is a word many people find offensive and - eventually, when they are old enough - the book will no doubt be a useful starting point for a look at perceptions and stereotypes of different races. In the meantime it's a funny book with no racial connotations for my children (who have absolutely no notion of prejudice whatsoever). I think the publishers have been very condescending attempting to make these books 'contemporary'. My children understand that the characters lived a long time ago when values were different. We recently read 'Five Go Down To The Sea'. The five (minus Timmy) are a bit mean to the shepherd boy Yan, by contemporary PC standards anyway, but we were talking about this and saying well in those days people were sometimes a bit like that and we shouldn't be today. All makes reading these stories with children interesting. Why do I love Blyton's work? Her writing is crystal clear; her pacing is excellent; there is a clear moral compass, always; her heroes are always striving to be good (even if they fail). But most of all because my son loves them: he has read all of Amelia Jane by himself and he's only 5 1/2. What did Blyton say? 'I'm not interested in any critic's comments who's over the age of 12' (or something like that!). The original editions are getting more expensive now - I'm buying them while I still can. Long live Dick and Fanny and Bessie and all the Queer happenings!!!
September 30, 2010 – Katrina says: Wouldn't academics be up in arms if someone tried editing Shakespeare? His language is far more difficult than Enid Blyton's, but we still use the original versions at school. Having said that, I do own children's versions of Shakespeare, but they were specifically adappted for children, as Shakespeare was writing more for adults. Blyton's books should be seen as an interesting window into 1950's life, as well as fantastic stories. I was probably about 9 when I first read them, and I don't remember having any difficulties with the language. Anyway, if I wrote a children's story people from other countries would probably have just as much trouble understanding it as they do Blyton, because of my use of slang and dialect words (I live in New Zealand). Some American books give me more trouble than Blyton's because of their use of American terms. I see no need to change any of Blyton's books. Today we are rather obsessed with PCness, but that wasn't the case in Blyton's day. You can't judge the past through modern eyes, as my classical studies teacher often says. Most of my Enid Blyton books were bought second hand, and are mostly from the 1970's or earlier, so are unedited. I haven't had trouble getting my hands on them, and they're a lot cheaper than buying them new. James - I'm over 12 but I still appreciate the books as if I were a child. Children today get enough exposure to the modern world through TV, so it's nice to revisit a simpler way of life. I think TV has been the single greatest factor in reducing literary rates. Kids see no purpose in reading, when they can just watch it for far less effort. But they are completely missing the unique joy of reading. I guess I'm an anomaly - my TV consumption is practically zilch and I go through at least 5 books a week. The fact that my peers see reading as strange shows just how TV-obsessed a cutur we have become.
October 4, 2010 – Joshua says: Updating the books spoils the old fashioned feel, wrecking the 'Blyton Style'. Also, if you read one of her original books and then a more modern version, sometimes even the characters names change. An example of this can be seen in the Magic Faraway Tree!
January 29, 2011 – Sue says: I totally agree with Richard. Growing up in the 60's and early 70's I adored her books as a child. They gave an insight into a world that had past us in the more affluent suburbs of England. A world where boys and girls went to boarding school, came home for the 'hols' ate lashings of ginger beer and ice cream, solved basically simplistic mysteries, and used words like topping, good little sport, The Mystery series I recently bought. With 'Fatty and the Find-Outers' in full. I was so disappointed to see just how much had been altered. Part of the magic of her books were because they were written in a bygone era, an era that can never be bought back. An innocence, without political correctness. It was what it was when written, and I want to read them again without changes. I loved the St. Claire series, where it was topping to play lacrosse well, Ern was caned, yet not in the book, the children frequently.
January 29, 2011 – Joshua says: I am shocked about the edits made to Blyton's books. Why change the title? How does it benefit? The old words help young children learn about the past. When and if they get stuck on them, it can help broaden their vocabulary when told what it means.
February 24, 2011 – imberhk says: Surely these books should reflect the times in which they were written and remain unchanged. They are period pieces. At this rate we may find publishers updating Jane Austen, the Brontes etc in case readers are offended by their lack of political correctness. Utter madness.
Fatty says... Fatty says: Of course it is.
August 14, 2011 – Teleost says: My 8 year old daughter recently received a new copy of the Enchanted Wood for her birthday. She loves EB and has fair library of older EB books. She was incredibly upset to find the names of some of her favourite characters altered. It was very difficult to explain that a bunch of pathetic killjoys think they know what kids like. Where's the idiocy going to stop? What on earth are Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn going to look like when these misguided dogooders are finished with them? Pretty thin on plot methinks.
August 20, 2011 – Paul says: It's very sad. What's next - Bets name being changed because it might encourage children into betting on sports?!
August 31, 2011 – Maryanne says: I'm Mary-Anne and am 9 years old (nearly ten). EB is not at all hard to read. Some in my class don't read much (but can a little) but that's because they're lazy and can't be bothered to learn. Those that want to learn try and can understand. I admit that there was one or two "tricky" bits but I asked my mum and she explained it and now reading it through again, I don't see how I didn't understand in the first place. Mum says its all part of learning and growing up. And I was reading to my little brother the other day a little Noddy book and I remember granny's old book had golliwogs and now in Tony's new book it's changed to another character. Its a shame and when I get big I'm going to write a letter to the publisher and tell them to stop. If they don't I'm going to publish them instead.
Fatty says... Fatty says: Tony's new book?
August 31, 2011 – Trevor says: Hello All, this is certainly an interesting discussion page, thanks to Nitya for starting it. I agree, why should Enid Blyton's books be unnecessarily changed or altered? I'm now thirteen and have been reading Enid Blyton's books for years. I was about five or six when I read my first 'Famous Five' book, 'Five Have Plenty Of Fun' and it was easily understandable. I see no point in changing the text of any book except for typing errors, grammar, capitalisation or punctuation. The only thing that changes is that the reader gets angry and the text is changed. Don't we - when we change things, - change it for the better? This is not! If they're changing Enid Blyton's stories, why don't they change Shakespeare's? Shakespeare's writing is far less understandable than Enid Blyton's. (Ha-Ha! I would love to see Shakespeare's writings in normal English. Then we wouldn't have to learn about the stuff at school. Wouldn't that be wizard!? ) - Do you think they'll ever change Shakespeare's? No! Then why change Enid Blyton's?
September 1, 2011 – Pra$il says: Hey! I totally agree with Trevor and special thanks to Nitya for starting this meaningful topic. In the way some books are replacing (updating) the old books, in fact it spoils. You see Trevor gave us example of Shakespeare. We all in my school read English texts, In that texts many Chapters of Shakespeare's writing (novels) are printed. In fact they are in simple manner. But my Father owns some of books, s Shakespeare has written, they are totally less understandable.
Fatty says... Fatty says: A bit like this post! ;-)
September 2, 2011 – Maryanne says: Sorry fatty. Tony is my little brother and he has been given some new Noddy books. And in the books the golliwogs have gone.
Fatty says... Fatty says: Ah, clear now! RIP dear Gollies.
September 2, 2011 – Trevor says: Yes Pra$il, some of Shakespeare's works have been changed, but they still print the originals. Some of Enid Blyton's works have been changed also, but they do not still print the originals. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I hope I've explained myself clearer this time.
September 9, 2012 – Gemma says: I dont mind some changes, like changing mistakes and so on, but I hate the changes to modern clothing and modern cars I also hate that in some books 'mother and daddy' has been changed to 'mum and dad'.
September 20, 2012 – Toni says: I'm a relative 'purist' in that I do not like seeing the books being edited to within an inch of their lives and all the outdated attitudes, terms and expressions being removed. I read loads of EBs in the 70s when I was aged 8 upwards and had no problems accepting the differences between the era of the books and the era in which I was living. My own 9-year old is currently enchanted by anything EB, especially the Famous Five series. He's reading my well-worn and second-or-third (or tenth) hand editions from my childhood and he too has no difficulty making the distinction between acceptable and normal attitudes and language of the time and the way that this would or would not happen now. I say leave the books alone except for glaring errors and some distinctly terms like 'nigger'.
February 24, 2016 – Rebecca says: Yeh Natia like this girl comes up and is adding more St clears and manny more books about the naughtiest girl in school! Yes she copies EBs stile a little bit but for example in kitty at st clears the head makes a bad choice with the head girl! Normally and in all the books by EB the the head always makes the best choices!!!!!!!! If you know what I mean??!!!!
Fatty says... Fatty says: We'd know what you meant if you learnt to spell and used good punctuation.
March 22, 2017 – Avan N. Cooverji says: Enid Blytons books have an affinity for children in different time periods. I started reading them when I was 11 and at the ripe old age of 74 am still reading them. I have read them in India where I lived most of my life and where English customs were different and now I am living in New Zealand where again there is a difference in perceptions about many things. Yet Enid Blyton appeals to all everywhere and anywhere and that too for any age. The books should be left untouched and in their original form, they have a charm of their own and no updates or changes can make them more appealing. In fact it will make them far less interesting and they should reflect the period in which and the audience for whom they were written.
May 11, 2017 – Avan N. Cooverji says: Enid Blytons stories and books should be left as she has written them. The atmosphere created, the phrases and expressions used are all in tune to that era and to make them fit to modern times just does not ring true. The stories as they are written have a charm of their own which cannot be improved upon or replaced and thus it would be best to read and enjoy them as it was done in those long ago days.
Fatty says... Fatty says: Couldn't agree more, Avan.
May 14, 2017 – Paul says: People *love* to pick on Blyton but take the much-lauded as "proto-feminist" Little Women where Louisa May Alcott portrays "Father" as some sort of God-like being or the "proto-feminist" The Secret Garden where the author, Frances Hodgson Burnett, takes a quick time out from the main plot to have her characters remark that women cause domestic violence against themselves.
October 3, 2017 – Lalitha Manjunath says: Love rereading Enid Blyton. Was brought up in India in the 70s and Enid Blyton was our window into another totally different, yet delightful world. Firmly against any editing at all. Affects the way we remember the book. What right does anyone gave to change another person's work without their permission?

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