“ONE-WOMAN FICTION MACHINE” -ENID BLYTON Presented by : Debabrata Sengupta 07010214.
WHY ENID BLYTON ? • Enid Blyton is undoubtedly one of the most popular authors of child fiction of the twentieth century. • She has had a great influence on society since she has introduced countless young minds to the joy of reading. • Blyton's literary output was of an estimated 800 books over roughly 40 years. • Even though her glittering life came to an end in 1968, she was voted Britain’s most loved writer as recently as August 2008. Thus, she resides in the hearts of millions even to this day.
Brief Overview of the Presentation • Brief History of Enid Blyton’s Life • Other child-fiction authors • Her works • Style of Writing • Influence of the Age on her Style • Criticisms and Controversies. • Impact on Society.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HER LIFE • Blyton was born to a middle class family on 11 August 1897 at Lordship Lane, London. • Her first book, “Child Whispers”, a collection of poems, was published in 1922. • She first married Alexander Pollok, publisher of her books, but later got divorced and remarried. • She was later afflicted by Alzheimer’s Disease and died in 1968. • During her literary career (1922 – 1968) she published around 800 books.
OTHER CHILD FICTION AUTHORS BEFORE HER • Lewis Caroll , Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland • J.M. Barrie , Peter Pan, The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up • Sherlock Holmes Series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
HER WORKS The complete list of her works is quite long. A few extremely popular series include : • The NODDY books • The Secret Seven Series • The Famous Five Series • The Adventure Series • The Naughtiest Girl Series • The Faraway Tree Series
STYLE OF WRITING “With her sheer command and power over the language, Blyton wove magic. The way she captured the English countryside, despite its dreary and wet, gloomy settings, and packaged it to us as a land of mystic charm is unbelievable…” - Critical Appreciation of Blyton Blyton's books are generally split into three types: • Involving ordinary children in extraordinary situations. • The more conventional boarding school stories with more emphasis on the day-to-day life at school. • Fantastical.
The salient features of her stories include :- • Simplicity of language, thought and expression. • She delivered what children wanted and would definitely enjoy, rather than giving them what others think is good for them.
Extraordinarily accurate and concrete descriptions of everything – starting from the countryside and right up to food! "Anne saw some cows pulling at the grass in a meadow as they passed. 'It must be awful to be a cow and eat nothing but tasteless grass,' she called to George. 'Think what a cow misses - never tastes an egg and lettuce sandwich, never eats a chocolate éclair, never has a boiled egg - and can't even drink a glass of ginger-beer! Poor cows!'" (from Five Get Into Trouble, 1949)
No ‘preaching’ anywhere – her books are refreshing and are bound to take the reader away from this mundane world rather than trying to find solutions to their problems. • She was an expert at creating a world of fantasy, suspense and mystery for young minds – filled with mythical goblins, elves – where they are all powerful. “They escape from their parents into a world where they can perform superhuman feats, or certainly beyond the capacity of children, in The Famous Five and Secret Seven. “ Tom Geoghegan - BBC News
Stress on friendship and interaction between peers more than on the storyline. • Emphasis on acquiring new experiences in hitherto unexplored places.
INFLUENCE OF THE AGE ON HER STYLE OF WRITING Her formative years coincided with the ‘Edwardian Era’ (1901 – 1914) in Britain and so her style of writing shows a marked influence of her age. • Books are imbued with principles prevalent before First World War – honour, sense of fair play, noticeable boy leader, and so on. • Description of meals reflects Edwardian gluttony. “Peter and Janet were in the shed, waiting. Janet was squeezing lemons into a big jug, making lemonade for the meeting. On a plate lay seven ginger biscuits and one big dog biscuit. That was for Scamper, their golden spaniel. He sat with his eyes on the plate, as if he was afraid his biscuit might jump off and disappear!”
CRITICICSMS & CONTROVERVERSIES • Writing has long been accused of being too simple or even poor in style, bossy and sexist. • Present Britain’s caste system prevalent at that time. Examples of racism : • Use of the phrase "black as a nigger with soot" appearing in Five Go off to Camp . • ‘Golliwogs’, which were later replaced by teddy bears. • “The Little Black Doll” who wanted to be ‘pink’.
No place for adults in her stories; rather they come across as irritating and interfering people. • Depiction of boys and girls is said to be sexist. Examples : • George(ina), the female character in Famous Five acting like a boy. • “'Certainly not,' said Peter, sounding very grown-up all of a sudden. 'This is a man's job, exploring that coal-hole'". - Go Ahead Secret Seven
IMPACT ON SOCIETY • Reignited interest among British authors in writing about the country side and sylvan environment. • Sparked off a new wave of children’s literature. Example : The William Series by Richmal Crompton. • Helped inculcate the reading habit in young children and thus was partly responsible for creating a new generation of readership. • Generated an urge to ‘explore’ in young kids.
The first Famous Five Series on television started in the year 1978 by ‘Southern Television’ of U.K. It had 26 episodes, each of 30 minutes duration. • Famous Five Series have been produced again in 1996, and is on the make again in 2008 (featuring the children of the original Famous Five). • The first Noddy TV adaptation came in 1975.
BIBLIOGRAPHY • www.wikipedia.org • www.google.com • www.youtube.com • Enid Blyton Fan Societies