...the pretty market town where Enid Blyton lived is now divided – over a festival celebrating her life.
Organisers are planning a week of activities in honour of the writer, who died in 1968 aged 71, and want to install a plaque to mark the spot where her home once stood.And there's a problem with that?
However, other locals are fighting to block the event on the grounds that much of the author’s work was ‘racist and offensive’.Ah. Guardian readers, I suspect?
Anthony Mealing, 63, who is trying to stop the event going ahead, said: 'My grandmother, Annie Grigg, taught at a school near here where they had rather racist Enid Blyton stories issued free by the author to all the pupils in the 1950s.
'The moral of one of the stories is: Don’t leave any money around if there are any black children about as they will steal it.
'She was anti-Semitic and very racist. People don’t believe me because she is too high an icon, but she was.'So...it's really only one local? At least, only one that the 'Mail' has been able to find.
He has his supporters on the internet, of course, but they aren't necessarily villages, now are they?
...a supporter of Mr Mealing wrote: 'For years there have been persistent rumours, based on recollections by some now elderly folk, that Enid B wasn’t a very nice lady.
'One of her daughters also had a lot to say, criticising her too. Two TV documentaries about her also cast doubt about her character.'Isn't it setting one's criteria for literature a wee bit high, that one can only read and enjoy books written by people who have lived the lives of ascetics, and whose relatives never have anything bad to say about them?
Luckily, our state broadcaster doesn't go in for such nonsense, eh?
Er, wasn't she also keen on playing tennis in the buff ... and other pursuits that aren't even hinted at in those books (although hindsight now allows for 'reading between the lines')
Anon, if you read right to the bottom of the article, you eventually learn the the film/documentary/call-it-what-you-will is to be shown by the BBC. One therefore assumes that it was commissioned, scripted and edited by the same - so thankfully there's no danger that the story may have been slanted and spun to create some message that such an unbiased and broadminded organisation would want to portray is there?
It's a good four decades since I read a Famous Five - I do seem to remember that they were such a good read that I never stopped to consider whether the author may have been a racist, or a bigot, or an adultress.
I guess that's why I'll never make a good leftie? ;0)
I don't believe her works were an inaccurate reflection of society back then. Perhaps all her readers should be outed as the hard core racists they clearly were? That'll be just about every child that passed through primary school during the 50s and 60s.
'For years there have been persistent rumours, based on recollections...
Awaits the inevitable grainy B&W photo showing Blyton meeting Jimmy Savile.
Is there by implication that anyone who is in the public eye must be perfect and never hold any views that may be held to offensive to later generations? For instance Charles Dickens enjoyed a good public hanging, should we destroy his plaques and his books?
Wasn't it the Russians who introduced a cult of personality during the overthrow of the Tsar and subsequent revolutions? Kerensky being a big one on this concept, also followed by Lenin, Trotsky and Hitler. The perfect individual, the Victorians knew that their heroes were flawed, Gordon latterly known as Gordon of Khartoum but during his lifetime as Chinese Gordon was understood to use opium, this failing would be a great scandal in this day and age. The Victorians accepted it as part of the man's background. Enid Blyton may not have been an entirely nice person, so what it did not stop me enjoying Brer Rabbit or the Adventures of Pip as a child.
Does the idea of a plaque to Enid Blyton annoy sanctimoneous tossers, yes, great let's have one.
Fidel - Of course, only the BBC puts a slant on anything - so much of a slant in this case that members of the Enid Blyton Society and Blyton's daughter were taken aside by BBC apparatchiks and had guns held to their heads to "collaborate" in putting the script together. As reported in that DM article from 4 years back.
Any way, thanks for assuming things about me simply on the basis of what was intended to be a mildly humorous interjection - So what if she played tennis in the buff and enjoyed discussing Uganda with ladies of a similar persuasion ... As J P points out, it is not just strange, but positively bewildering that we now castigate and worse seek to censor authors from the past who wrote books in which they reflected, for good or ill, wholly accurately or otherwise, what was going on around them and the attitudes that existed. I wouldn't pick up an Enid Blyton or a P G Wodehouse expecting to find a coruscating critique of the society they lived in, and I don't judge their output on that basis.
Lefty revisionist twaddle.
In truth our Enid was a touch middle of the road - a bit of Helen Bannerman's what you're wanting in your little darlings' library.
Sad and misguided attacks on one of our great Authors and the nobler characteristics of that era.
I've just recalled that Enid Blyton was persona-non-grata at the BBC once upon a time... it was claimed because they didn't rate her as an author but there more to it I believe.
By today's standards Lewis Carroll would be on the 'register'.
"Er, wasn't she also keen on playing tennis in the buff..."
Yes, I can't think why there'd be a need or desire to show her in any but the most flattering light. Can you?
"...to create some message that such an unbiased and broadminded organisation would want to portray is there?"
Spot on! Though, if they really were broadminded, why would they feel naked tennis is so scurrilous?
"I don't believe her works were an inaccurate reflection of society back then. "
They weren't. But the progressives would so love to erase history.
"Is there by implication that anyone who is in the public eye must be perfect and never hold any views that may be held to offensive to later generations?"
It would seem so, though they go to extraordinary lengths to exonerate 'misunderstood' left wing heroes.
"Lefty revisionist twaddle."
"I've just recalled that Enid Blyton was persona-non-grata at the BBC once upon a time... it was claimed because they didn't rate her as an author but there more to it I believe."
Given those authors they do insist on feting, that's recommendation enough for me!
"By today's standards Lewis Carroll would be on the 'register'."
Oh, good lord, yes!
Putting up plaques is good so long as it's done by the right side, and by right I mean left. Witness some London borough wanting to put up a plaque about Lenin (or some similar socialist icon) and using public money to do so.
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