[DWJ]Enid Blyton? (was Writing for the young)

Farah Mendlesohn farah.sf at gmail.com
Wed May 16 16:54:31 EDT 2007


I didn't think the oral style was bad, but I found it hard to read as an
adult. I have hte sense that her books for younger readers are the oral
ones.

Farah

On 16/05/07, Jenny Schwartzberg <schwartzbergj at newberry.org> wrote:
>
> 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....
>
> Yours,
> Jenny Schwartzberg
> Chicago, IL
>
>
> Farah Mendlesohn wrote:
> > Hi Minnow,
> >
> > I discovered recently that Blyton dictated a lot of her work. It was
> > mentioned on a radio 4 programme.
> >
> > Farah
> >
> > 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
> >> the
> >> > 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
> >> biro
> >> > and started absent-mindedly to proof-read it as I go along.
> >> Formulaic,
> >> > 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.
> >>
> >> Colin
> >>
> >>
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> >>
> >
> >
> >
>
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-- 
One day I want time to be bored.


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