Author Topic: Enid Blyton bowdlerisations  (Read 313 times)

Offline Sally Hope

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Enid Blyton bowdlerisations
« on: Mar 23, 2018, 07:47:05 AM »
The golliwogs thing has not made a huge impact on me because I haven't read new editions of the books since those changes have been made. I know people have found the portrayal of golliwogs racially insensitive and I'm not best placed to comment on that, but I do think other changes made to Blyton have been very much a disservice to the stories. In the first Malory Towers book, for example, Darrell Rivers originally 'slaps' the manipulative and cruel Gwendoline quite hard; in the recent reissues this is amended to 'scolding' her. Darrell is probably Blyton's most nuanced heroine and to have her temper tantrums toned down like this feels disappointing - to have a protagonist with a flaw who makes mistakes and apologises is so much more powerful than a protagonist whose 'failings' were never that serious to begin with.

Currency change can sometimes make it easier for modern readers to identify, but then inflation needs to apply as well - and it's such an undermining of young readers to imagine they won't understand that money has been different at different times in history. 

Dame Slap was scary and - despite the fantastical surroundings - real. Dame Snap is not. She is a sanitised version of a bad guy, and young readers are very prepared for very evil bad guys. They don't need their villains made nicer.

'Spiffing' has been out of fashion for many decades, and yet many decades of readers have still understood this phrase (and others) from the context. There is a difference between 'I use this word regularly in ordinary conversation' and 'I understand what this is from the context' and we need to appreciate that even child readers can distinguish between these two things, rather than presume they're stupid.

As for the character name changes, one that annoyed me most was a book (I think the Adventurous Four) where two  girls called Mary and Jill (nice, timeless names) were updated to Zoe and Pippa. Which were outdated at the time of the updating; to me they
felt like names of people in about their 20s, not 10-12! That one infuriated me, it was so pointless and made the books date more than if it'd been left alone.

Offline Auzzinaz

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Re: Enid Blyton bowdlerisations
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 12:26:01 PM »
The most important media about this site is mostly about what.

Offline Slantrhyme

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Re: Enid Blyton bowdlerisations
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 07:01:43 PM »
  All sounds pretty harmless and inconsequential to me. I donít know of any child who reads these books nowadays, in fact Iím not sure Iíve even seen them on sale, and Iíve spent a lot of time in bookshops with my son.  I wouldnít worry if I were you. 
 Nobody likes seeing things that they loved when they were a child being changed, but I donít think any children have been adversely affected by Postman Pat or Thomas the Tank having a makeover. Bollocks it may be, but itís not the most damaging bollocks a child will encounter.   
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