Talk About Blyton!

Unlisted - Enid Blyton in general – The Three Golliwogs

January 2, 2008 – Zehra Kazmi says: Can anybody please help me with this book? I am unable to get this book from the library or stores. I have heard that this book was considered racial. I don't know the truth but please give me some information about this book - the plot, the criticisms and why it is so rare. Please help me.
January 2, 2008 – Fiona says: Zehra - As far as I know one of the Gollywogs was named "Nigger", and the book is no longer in print. It can sometimes be found on eBay, but any copy listed sells for a lot of money as they are quite rare. I'm sorry I don't know any more than this - I have never read the book.
January 2, 2008 – Manzy says: I've seen the original text versions on eBay. As well as the tale featuring golliwogs which to some are a racist caricature of certain people, one of the names of the golliwogs in the original text, is now considered to be racially offensive - the name being Nigger, derived from the word negro, as far as I understand. I think they're rarer because later texts changed this characters' name to something considered more appropriate and the original text therefore out of print. I think a lot of the original books have probably been thrown away on racist grounds - I know I had a golliwog as a child and in the 80s he was thrown away because he was "bad". Obviously, at that young age, I couldn't understand the full social implication of a golliwog (I must have been around 3 or 4 years old) - to me he was just my friend who had black hair and wore bright clothes. He was not given to me in a racist context. I've never read the book myself, so can't criticise the plot, but no doubt someone on here will have! Manzy
January 9, 2008 – Zehra says: Thank you for your replies! It was very sweet of you to help me.
April 8, 2008 – Tuba says: I have read the book and I think that it is a very good book.
February 18, 2009 – Vernick says: I have read the three golliwogs as a child and as an adult now I still remember this book. I'm a mother now and I've been introducing my daughter to Enid Blyton, s Books because I had enjoyed these books as a child. I am a Jamaican and I've always wondered if this book is in fact racial or if the Author is racist. And even the answer to these questions are yes It still doesnt change how I feel about her stories, they are still fresh in my memories today.
February 19, 2009 – Jeni says: No way that great woman could have been racist, absolutely no way. I myself am 'Guyanese', and Guyana is just a long hop away from Jamaica, after all, we're part of the Caribbean also. Look at how many children the world over - children of all colour, cultures - have grown up loving Blyton's books and adore her writing. I often wondered where that 'racist' theme came from, how on earth people could take 2 and 2 and get 5 and so claim that she was racist; to this day I can't figure it out. Doesn't matter. It ain't true, not a whit of it - uh-uh.
September 2, 2011 – Trevor says: I read the book; 'The Three Golliwogs', as one of my first Enid Blyton books. Since then, I have read it over and over again. I remember back when I couldn't read, my mother read it to me and I loved it! I still love it. The adventures of Wiggie, Waggie, and Wollie. This book I still have is a 1969 edition published by Dean and Son Ltd. But in the above posts, Fiona, and Manzy both said that one of the Golliwogs' name was Nigger, well in my edition (1969) it isn't in it. What book are you two looking at? - An earlier or later edition? (I know the third edition was published in 1946. So you might be right. 'Nigger' may have been an original name. And Keith, "When was the first edition published? ") Anyhow the book is full of fun and throughout the book the Golliwogs are playing jokes on their neighbours and friends. It's truly one of the best End Blyton books there is! You laugh till you cry in this book! A must-read!
Fatty says... Fatty says: The Three Golliwogs was first published in 1944 by George Newnes. The golliwogs were originally called Golly, Woggie and Nigger.
July 3, 2012 – Lynne says: I can't believe that this book has been banned. On what grounds? I obviously don't see what other racist people see. This book is just a children's book full of innocence, typical of Enid Blyton. I cannot look at this book in any shape or form and think of anything racism. Perhaps someone would like to explain this to me, or maybe the people who have got this book banned are the true racists. Its very disappointing. My sister and I loved this book whilst growing up and never once in our innocent upbringing did we ever think there was anything racist. To us it was 3 little people having a lot of fun together and how we wished we could join them.
July 4, 2012 – Jeni says: Little children are not racist. Children do not see color, they see other children. I find this interesting: It's grown ups, aka adults, who differentiate and judge people based upon their skin color. If Enid were truly racist, this would show up in her books, but it doesn't! And millions of children and former children throughout the world can attest to the fact that her many stories were anything but racist!
Fatty says... Fatty says: Well said, Jeni.
July 5, 2012 – Farwa says: So true, Jeni. I've heard that grown-ups also think that the Noddy series is a 'racist' series. I absolutely disagree with that. I haven't read "The Three Goliwogs", but I'm sure that there isn't ant racist thing in it. Enid's books are full of innocence and joy. By the way, I have the same problem as Zehra. I really want the book, "Five On A Treasure Island", but it isn't avilable in the bookshop, though dad mom, and me tried many times. Please help.
Fatty says... Fatty says: I can't complain about the name changes though.
July 5, 2012 – Jeni says: Er, um. Thanks, Fatty (blushing).
Fatty says... Fatty says: A pleasure, dear friend.
July 15, 2012 – Stephen Isabirye says: In my opinion, as in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which tried to address some racial issues during the antebellum (slavery era) USA, Enid Blyton was trying to address some of the racial issues that blacks faced during wartime Britain, though like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there was a couple of racial stereotyping in The Three Golliwogs.
July 18, 2012 – Paul says: There are offensive phrases you could simply take out and replace, without any particular damage being done to the texts, but, say, rewriting the roles of the girls in the Famous Five, or altering the awful class assumptions of the Five Find-Outers series (especially the characters of Ern and Goon), or the 'funny foreigners' attitude to characters like Zerelda, Claudine and the French mistresses in her school stories would involve changing the series significantly. I have to say everything in me shrinks from the idea of tampering with texts - I'd probably prefer to see an introduction or afterword that tried to explain EB's attitudes as limited by her time and class etc - though it would be difficult to pull off properly.
July 19, 2012 – Jeni says: I agree that it would be difficult to pull off, as Paul says. Therefore I stick to my old adage: "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"! I also am in favor of not altering the original texts. If Enid were alive today, I don't think she would take kindly to her work being changed. She might employ a certain thing called "lawsuit", I believe. I also see why some say there might be contradictions in her stories. But are they really contradictions? Somehow, Enid makes it all work.
March 24, 2015 – JULIE says: Can you please advise me what the value of the 1st edition Enid Blyton the three golliwogs 1944 is please?
Daisy says... Daisy says: We do not value books, Julie. A book is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.
January 17, 2016 – Kim says: I have read and owned the 1969 edition and the names of the golliwogs were Waggie, Wollie and Wiggie. This book was lots of fun to read. I am black and never thought it as a racist book. I am now introducing my 8 year old son to these books and am in search for The three golliwogs. Since my search I have came upon a site which listed the 'politically incorrect books' to which this book along with little house on the prairie and Huckleberry Finn are named along with others. If I do find the golliwogs book I am going to treasure it for sure. As a child I was 'color-blind' and I still am! I will educate/teach my son to be 'color-blind' too. Racism starts with adults!
Fatty says... Fatty says: Very true, Kim. The Gollies were originally called Golly, Woggie and Nigger. Probably one instance where an update was necessary!
January 24, 2016 – June E says: Fatty, I know that no offence is intended and you are merely giving factual information, but nevertheless I am finding it uncomfortable to see the 'N' word in your post about golliwog names. My request is, would you consider bleeping it out with some *** or something. It's just that the word is so very offensive to many people these days. Does anyone think I am being overly sensitive?
Bets says... Bets says: I don't know which response of Fatty's you're referring to, June. I can't speak for Fatty, but here's my opinion. The word is indeed offensive to many people now, and they have the right to be offended given a racist, colonial and oppressive history. It is absolutely inexcusable to use the word in a negative context now. However, I personally think giving factual information is also important. I am not in favour of censoring history. To me, using the word in a factual/historical context acknowledges the mistreatment of people of colour. I suppose within the sphere of this website, this level of acknowledgement will probably not be reached. However, it still provides context, and to me that's important. If it makes you uncomfortable, you have my apologies.

Fatty says: I, too, add my apologies if my use of the word upset you. However, I strongly dislike the use of asterisks as it doesn't fool anybody - we all know the word to which it refers. I assume you are referring to my reply concerning the names of the golliwogs in Enid's "The Three Golliwogs", in our Talk About Blyton section, where their names were being discussed. I make no apologies for using the original names in this discussion. However, I support the decision to update them in later editions. I have moved this post to the relevant section in Talk About Blyton to aid continuity.
January 25, 2016 – Nigel says: I can understand people feeling uncomfortable with certain words that were acceptable in the 1940s. Nevertheless, they can't be ignored in a discussion on a book where these names were originally used. I have an original copy of Agatha Christie's, Ten Little Niggers. This was later to become Ten Little Indians, but that too fell out of fashion. Goodness knows why, can we not mention Indians, either? The rhyme is intrinsic to the plot, so now has been altered to Ten Little Soldier Boys, and the book title seems to be in its final version, And Then There Were None. I realise this has little to do with Blyton, but it goes to show how words once acceptable are now deemed almost obscene. The term nigger has now come back in fashion in certains areas, between black men, albeit spelled nigga. I wonder if the term 'slave' will one day become unacceptable?
January 26, 2016 – Evie Hamada says: June, it does not require all that for use of an offensive word. True, the word is not nice but my dear friend Fatty was not using it as a racist insult against anyone, if he was that would be unacceptable and I would have something to say; I wouldn't like it if my best friend was being so offensive. Fortunately, I know my best friend Fatty very well and this was not the case.
Fatty says... Fatty says: You are a loyal friend, Evie! Nevertheless, all opinions are welcomed here.
November 1, 2016 – Tosh W says: Though some people may view themselves as being color blind, terms such as nigger are offensive and possess a negative connotation. Just because racism was normalized and deemed acceptable when these books were written, doesn't mean there is an excuse to have them in print now and if they are, those words should be changed to something more appropriate. I cannot see myself reading a story with the title Ten Little Niggers to my child. As an American, that word is ugly without question and no good intention comes from its use.
Fatty says... Fatty says: I'm sure most of us (even die-hard purists) agree with your sentiment here, Tosh W. Hence words such as you mention haven't been used in Blyton (or Christie) books for decades.
January 21, 2017 – jay says: I am now 48 years old, I still have The Three Golliwogs book, the golliwogs were Golly, Woggie and Nigger. This book was read to me by my mother many times that I knew the stories by heart. I never considered it racist at all. As children, we do not think of such things unless it is made an issue. It is such a shame that things such as this are thought of in a bad light. We now focus so much on PC and stupid people looking for how they can be offended instead of enjoying life and living peacefully.
Daisy says... Daisy says: It is sad that such a toy of years ago is classed as un PC now, and yet the Golly was loved by all the children who owned one.
January 26, 2017 – Paul says: Enid would have eventually taken into consideration the feelings of little black children and their parents and ultimately agreed with the removal of the gollies and the word nigger. Yes, in the fifties, she denied the complaints of black civil rights groups that the gollies were based on a visual racial stereotype, but that was just Enid the brought up an Edwardian talking.
August 1, 2017 – Natasha Bowen says: I read these comments in shock especially those saying the people who got the. I'll manner must be racist. Followings and the use of the N word are just not acceptable. IN ANY WAY. And just because black people have claimed that word back does not mean it can be used to perpetuate racist stereotypes. I love Enid B too but you are kidding yourself if you don't acknowledge that use of language is racist.
Fatty says... Fatty says: I have left your first two sentences in, but they don't make any sense to me. Maybe others will know what you were trying to say. It is important to read and check posts before submitting.
August 1, 2017 – George says: "Nigger" meant more of a colour than a racist term. Paint manufacturers called a dark brown colour, Nigger Brown. I have know pet dogs called Nigger and there was no intention to compare them with black African Americans in a derogatory term. Rhymes, such as "Catch a nigger by his toes" and Agatha Christie's Ten Little Niggers - the latter was also a rhyme - gave no offence back in the 40s. I get tired and irritated by these posts saying Enid was racist. She wasn't, indeed the word racist wasn't known back then. Of course it isn't acceptable in 2017 to use these words, but it was in 1940.
August 6, 2017 – Avan N. Cooverji says: Golliwogs! This term was used in the times when the world was a different place, do not think it was meant to be intentionally rude or looking down on black people or other non- white races, though it does show traces of haughtiness and pride about its users, but in todays times it is definately not proper to have this term as it does seem to connote something inferior to the 'Whites' or the so called superior people. But those who think that it is aimed at them and feel offended should retort by saying that " A ROSE BY ANY NAME SMELLS JUST AS SWEET! ".

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