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Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton Enid Blyton[1†]

Enid Mary Blyton (1897–1968), an English children's writer, sold over 600 million books in 90 languages, ranking 4th for most translated author by June 2019. She authored popular series like Noddy, Famous Five, and Malory Towers. Blyton's prolific output, averaging fifty books yearly, sparked rumors of ghostwriters, vehemently denied. Blyton emphasized moral values and supported charitable causes, fostering her readers' philanthropy. Her life inspired the BBC film "Enid," starring Helena Bonham Carter[1†].

Early Years and Education

Enid Mary Blyton was born on 11 August 1897 in East Dulwich, South London, United Kingdom[1†]. She was the eldest of three children born to Thomas Carey Blyton, a cutlery salesman, and his wife Theresa Mary[1†]. After her birth, the Blyton family moved to Beckenham in Kent, where her younger brothers, Hanley and Carey Blyton, were born[1†][2†].

Blyton had a close relationship with her father, who inspired her love for nature, art, theatre, music, and literature[1†][2†]. Her father’s influence played a significant role in shaping her future as a writer[1†][2†]. However, her relationship with her mother was turbulent, and they never really came close[1†][2†].

Blyton’s early education details are not well-documented. However, she showed a keen interest in writing from a young age. A children’s magazine published one of her poems when she was just 14[1†][3†]. She gave up her early music studies to train as a schoolteacher at Ipswich High School from 1916 to 1918[1†][4†]. In 1917, another of her poems was published in Nash’s Magazine[1†][4†].

After completing her training, Blyton began teaching at Bickley Park School in 1919[1†][5†]. In 1920, she moved to Surbiton and became a governess to four boys of a couple called Thompson[1†][5†]. These experiences enriched her understanding of children, which later reflected in her writings[1†][5†].

Career Development and Achievements

Enid Blyton’s career as a writer began in earnest around 1924[6†]. She devoted herself full-time to writing, and from then until about 1965, she wrote more than 600 children’s books and numerous articles for magazines[6†]. Some of her stories first appeared in Enid Blyton’s Sunny Stories (1937–52) and other magazines she founded and edited over the years[6†].

Her first book, Child Whispers, a 24-page collection of poems, was published in 1922[6†][1†]. Following the commercial success of her early novels, such as Adventures of the Wishing-Chair (1937) and The Enchanted Wood (1939), Blyton went on to build a literary empire, sometimes producing fifty books a year in addition to her prolific magazine and newspaper contributions[6†][1†]. Her writing was unplanned and sprang largely from her unconscious mind; she typed her stories as events unfolded before her[6†][1†]. The sheer volume of her work and the speed with which she produced it led to rumours that Blyton employed an army of ghost writers, a charge she vigorously denied[6†][1†].

Blyton is best remembered today for her Noddy, Famous Five, Secret Seven, the Five Find-Outers, and Malory Towers books[6†][1†]. In the 1950s her Little Noddy series, featuring the adventures of Little Noddy, Mr. Plod the policeman, Big Ears, and other characters of Toyland Village, enjoyed enormous popularity and made her a household name[6†]. Blyton’s books feature clearly delineated good and bad characters and have exciting plots that illustrate traditional moral lessons[6†]. Her vocabulary and prose style are simple and highly accessible to beginning readers[6†].

Despite the criticism she faced for her stereotyped characters and simplistic viewpoint, Blyton’s remarkable popularity with young readers has remained undiminished, and new editions of her books continue to appear[6†]. By the early 21st century, her books had sold some 400 million copies and been translated into at least 90 languages[6†].

First Publication of Her Main Works

Enid Blyton’s first book, “Child Whispers”, a 24-page collection of poems, was published in 1922[1†][6†]. However, she is best known for her adventure and mystery series, which have captivated children worldwide.

Blyton’s work has been translated into 90 languages, and her books continue to be loved by children all over the world[1†][6†]. Her stories, filled with fun, adventure, and mystery, have left a lasting impact on children’s literature[1†][6†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Enid Blyton’s work has been the subject of much debate and fluctuation in critical reputation, particularly beginning in the 1950s[9†]. At the peak of her career in the 1940s and early 1950s, Blyton was widely regarded as an iconic figure, a ‘national institution’ and an expert in all things related to children[9†]. Her books were seen as a passport to happiness for millions of children[9†]. The diversity of Blyton’s work led to comparisons with other renowned authors like Robert Louis Stevenson, Beatrix Potter, Edith Nesbit, and J.M. Barrie[9†].

However, in the years leading up to and following her death in 1968, Blyton was re-cast as a writer of dubious merits and little credibility[9†]. A series of attacks by prominent librarians, educationalists, and journalists in the late 1950s and 1960s helped create a picture of Blyton as a self-important, over-indulged figure who had been given free rein over children’s literature for long enough[9†].

Despite the criticism, Blyton’s work continues to be popular. Her stories, filled with fun, adventure, and mystery, have left a lasting impact on children’s literature[9†][10†]. Her books implicitly shape the minds of young readers and are covertly censored in many ways[9†][10†]. But revising occasional words will usually not shift the values regarded as outdated in the text[9†][10†].

Blyton’s books made for great plays, offering children an alternative to star-studded pantomimes for the first time[9†][10†]. Her work has endured, with amendments, over the generations[9†][11†]. The debates around sexism, racism, Englishness, and middle-class ethos, which are very much part of the Blyton icon, are closely examined[9†][11†].

Personal Life

Enid Blyton was born in East Dulwich, London, to Thomas Carey Blyton, a salesman of cutlery, and Theresa Mary Harrison Blyton[2†]. She had a close relationship with her father, who inspired her towards art and writing and made her a nature lover[2†]. However, her relationship with her mother was turbulent[2†].

On 28 August 1924, Blyton married Major Hugh Alexander Pollock[2†][1†][5†]. After her marriage, she became a full-time writer[2†][5†]. The couple had two daughters, Gillian, born in 1931, and Imogen Mary, born in 1935[2†][5†]. However, her marriage to Pollock did not last, and they divorced in 1942[2†][1†].

Blyton then married surgeon Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters in 1943[2†][1†]. She continued her prolific writing career throughout her personal life changes[2†][1†].

Blyton did a lot of work for charity and had a club for children which helped them to give money to charity[2†][8†][12†]. She died of Alzheimer’s disease in Hampstead, London[2†][8†][12†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Enid Blyton’s legacy is one of creativity, imagination, and a deep love of storytelling[13†]. Her contributions to children’s literature cannot be denied, and her books will continue to inspire and delight young readers for generations to come[13†]. She wrote incredible English books for children. Her books were famous and reached many places throughout the world[13†][14†]. Blyton in real life loved her family. Just like her dad, she enjoyed reading, writing, gardening, music, etc[13†][14†].

Despite the controversies and criticisms, her books have been worldwide bestsellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies[13†][1†]. Her books are still enormously popular and have been translated into ninety languages[13†][1†]. As of June 2019, Blyton held 4th place for the most translated author[13†][1†].

The story of Blyton’s life was dramatised in Enid, a BBC television film featuring Helena Bonham Carter in the title role[13†][1†]. It was first broadcast in the UK on BBC Four in 2009[13†][1†].

Overall, Blyton’s work has held a special place in the imagination of more children than any other author[13†][15†]. She still holds the record for the world’s largest-selling author of children’s books[13†][15†]. This is her legacy which will be cherished and valued always[13†][14†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Enid Blyton [website] - link
  2. The Famous People - Enid Blyton Biography [website] - link
  3. Britannica Kids - Enid Blyton [website] - link
  4. Britannica Kids - Enid Blyton [website] - link
  5. Local Histories - A Brief Biography of Enid Blyton [website] - link
  6. Britannica - Enid Blyton: British author [website] - link
  7. Famous Authors - Enid Blyton [website] - link
  8. Simple Wikipedia (English) - Enid Blyton [website] - link
  9. Springer Link - Blyton and the Critics [website] - link
  10. The Conversation - Enid Blyton – News, Research and Analysis – The Conversation – page 1 [website] - link
  11. Sheffield Hallam University Research Archive - Enid Blyton and the mystery of children's literature. [website] - link
  12. IMDb - Enid Blyton - Biography [website] - link
  13. RT Book Reviews - Discover the 20 Best Enid Blyton Books - Childhood Stories [website] - link
  14. Tutorials Point - Enid Blyton [website] - link
  15. ABC Australia - The lasting legacy of Enid Blyton - ABC listen [website] - link
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