[DWJ]Enid Blyton? (was Writing for the young)
schwartzbergj at newberry.org
Wed May 16 13:58:40 EDT 2007
Dear Farah et al,
Your comments made me dig out an article in a book I'm reading:
Rudd, David, "Blytons, Noddies, and Denoddification Centers: The
Changing Constructions of a Cultural Icon," /Change and Renewal in
Children's Literature/, ed. Thomas van der Walt (Westport, CT: Praeger
Publishers, 2004), chapter 11, pp. 111-118.
What I remembered was that Rudd wrote about how Blyton wrote in an oral
style, like an oral storyteller and that he criticized how modern
rewritten editions take out that oral style and their efforts degrade
the stories and make them less successful.
Now you say she actually dictated her stories. Aha! No wonder they
read so orally. Speaking as someone who is training to be a
storyteller, and who loves books that are great to read aloud, I have to
wonder why that's so bad. As an American child, I had a 6-volume set of
the Famous Five and some other paperback Blytons and one banged-up copy
of a Noddy comic-format book that I liked for the illustrations.
I may go look in my university library for old Blytons and see what I
think of her appeal now. But I don't think prolificacy is to be
despised as long as the stories are fun to read....
Yes I read Barbara Cartlands along with Georgette Heyer and tons of
Regency romances when I was a teen. Barbara Cartland is very
stereotyped but I have to say that some of her earliest stories weren't
that bad. It was the late ones that were so repetitive and boring and
pretty awful in their assumptions. Once an author gets locked into a
series or style of writing it seems like all too often they go formulaic
and get worse and worse as the series goes along....
There are a lot of authors whose first books remain special to me, but
whose later books just do not appeal to me. They lack the spark of the
first book. It's very sad. And then there are authors who just keep
getting better and better. I think DWJ is in the latter category though
some books seem hit or miss. I bought The Game the moment it came out
but I'm still wondering why it's so short and it just doesn't strike me
as that special. I've been putting off reading The Pinhoe Egg. I'm not
sure why, except maybe because it's about Cat who tends to irritate the
heck out of me. I never got into Charmed Life because of that. Yes I
know he's very much an abused child and his behavior patterns are due to
that, but what's the name of the later book he's also in? He doesn't
seem to have grown up that much. It's a sign of how much I didn't get
into that one that I can't remember the title! And yet I liked The
Lives of Christopher Chant, Witch Week and other Chrestomanci stories....
But some of my favorite DWJ stories are Eight Days of Luke, The
Magicians of Caprona, and Hexwood, and the Dalemark books....
Enough of a ramble for now....
Farah Mendlesohn wrote:
> Hi Minnow,
> I discovered recently that Blyton dictated a lot of her work. It was
> mentioned on a radio 4 programme.
> On 15/05/07, Colin Fine <colin at kindness.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>> Minnow wrote:
>> > One thing has to be said for Enid Blyton: she had at least been taught
>> > use of punctuation at some point. Her stuff doesn't demand a re-write
>> > every couple of sentences, and I don't find that I have got out a red
>> > and started absent-mindedly to proof-read it as I go along.
>> > yes, maybe, but not horribly constructed word-by-word as well as
>> > plot-by-plot.
>> When I was around 20 I came upon a copy of what had been my fav'rite
>> Enid Blyton book, that I had read again and again - Mr Galliano's
>> Circus, in fact.
>> I found it pretty well unreadable - specifically because far too many of
>> her sentences ended with exclamation marks.
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