The blyton phenomenon

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The Blyton Phenomenon
The controversy surrounding the world’s most successful children’s writer

SHEILA G. RAY

I. INTRODUCTION

II. ENID BLYTON, THE LIBRARIANS, THE TEACHERS AND THE PARENTS

1. The early years
2. The war years 1939-45
3. The period of recovery 1946-58
4. The second golden age 1958-74
5. Bullock and after

III. ENID BLYTON AND THE CHILDREN

IV.CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

II. ENID BLYTON, THE LIBRARIANS, THE TEACHERS AND THE PARENTS

1. The early years

P14. « The young book-reading public was still predominantly « a sheltered middle-class public » »

P15. « Her writing, in terms of the world she portrayed and of the style in which she wrote, was very much to the taste of the 1930s. »

P16. « Enid Blyton’s holiday adventure,mystery ans school stories are probably her most popular books. »

P18. « Enid Blyton hoped to be read by children of both sexes and in order to achieve this she even set her first series of school stories in a co-educational school. »

P19. « Period when most adults who cared about children’s reading were more concerned with suitability of content than with literary quality »

P25. « In theperiod before 1939 there were no signs of hostility towards Enid Blyton and by 1939 most people were deeply concerned with a far greater threat to Britain’s children as the Second World War began. »

2. The war years 1939-45

P26. « The second world war had a twofold effect on children’s book generally. First, there was the damage caused by bombing raids on London, when publishers’ stocksand printing plates were destroyed; secondly, there was the paper shortage. »

P27. « Paul Hodder-Williams was annoyed about the supposed banning of her books by public libraries. »

P29. « Her books were being published at a time when well-established children’s books were not being reprinted in sufficient quantities to meet demand. The lack of classics was particularly regretted. »

P32.« Enid Blyton did not need the assistance of the BBC to make her popular. »

P32. « There is no evidence that any librarians were at this time refusing to stock her[..] it is clear that by the end of the war Enid Blyton was well established. »

3. The Period of Recovery 1946-58

P35. «Between 1947 and 1955, a critical period in the publication of Enid Blyton’s book »

P35. « There were nosigns of anti-Blyton hysteria. »

P36. «There is a little evidence in the periodical articles of 1947 that librarians regarded Enid Blyton as a producer of sub-literature .»

P37. « The first public manifestations of what soon came to be regarded as the « Blyton problem » came really in 1949. »

P41. « In the early 1950s, children’s librarians, in public at least, seem to have continuedto be most concerned about the effects of the cinema, of comics and of horror stories. »

P44. « The Library association was quoted as saying, « The job of the public library is to educate and entertain. In the children’s departments we put a heavier stress on education. It is thought that Miss Blyton does not present enough of a challenge to children. »

P44. In the West Riding, there was apolicy […] of raising the general level of reading and much of what was considered sub-literature was not bought. »

P45. « It was a question of quantity that was under consideration. »

The teachers: P48. « Amongst teachers, the idea that Enid Blyton’s books are useful as material on which children can practise their reading skills seems to have established itself. »

The parents: P49. « Manyof them must have taken the view that as they had enjoyed her books, their children would do the same. »

P54. « All the books receive the same sort of comments – « drab », « perfunctory writing », mechanical plot », occupationless children » and « vulgar little story ». »

P56. « In 1955, […] it was the first time that criticism of the triviality of Enid Blyton’s world, her undemanding...
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