Talk:Enid Blyton

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Featured articleEnid Blyton is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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February 23, 2014Good article nomineeListed
March 16, 2014Peer reviewReviewed
May 1, 2014Featured article candidatePromoted
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on March 2, 2014.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ... that Enid Blyton's books were banned by the BBC for being "second-rate" and without merit?
On this day... Facts from this article were featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on August 11, 2017, and August 11, 2022.
Current status: Featured article


The article states that her books were banned from libraries, and even that she enjoys the dubious distinction of being the author with the greatest number of banned books. Can anyone explain WHY the books were banned? Was it simply because the books were considered to have been poorly written, or was this the result of the percieved racism/sexism, etc? This does not appear to be made very clear in the article. It is one thing for an institution like the BBC to decide not to give air time to an author whose works it does not consider good -- that is fair game -- but it does seem surprising for libraries to take the positive step of actually banning a popular author's works on the grounds that they do not feel they are "good enough", particularly given some of the drivel that makes its way into libraries. (talk) 18:06, 24 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I expect that different libraries had different reasons, including pressure on their budgets resulting from the sheer volume of Blyton's work. But the article already gives the generally accepted answer: "Some librarians felt that Blyton's restricted use of language, a conscious product of her teaching background, was prejudicial to an appreciation of more literary qualities." Eric Corbett 18:56, 24 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The A.H. Thompson book in the reference section goes into great detail on numerous instances of local librarians -- throughout various towns and shires of the UK, and in Australia & New Zealand as well, which happen to be the three countries where Blyton's books were (and are) most popular -- instituting de facto bans on Blyton's books, by choosing not to continue buying/stocking them despite public demand. The reasons given were of wide variation, but mostly revolved around three themes: (1) Blyton books are too popular, and are taking the place of "higher-quality" literature that youth would otherwise choose to read, (2) Blyton books promulgate values or characters that some find undesirable, or (3) So many Blyton books are published on a yearly basis that there are simply not enough shelves or budget in the library to keep very many in stock; the library must give fair consideration to all available books when maintaining an inventory, and discretionary priority should be given to librarians to buy as many of the "best" books as possible. The prevailing opinion among most librarians of the time was that a child who consumes too many of what they considered to be "overly simplistic" and "variously vapid" Blyton books will have no desire or ability to graduate to "higher" levels of literature, and would become caught in a spiral of educational mediocrity if their literary choices were not forcibly curated.

- Librarians should not be dictating which level of difficulty children are reading at, and banning books for being too easy to read is the most ridiculous, most trivial use of censorship. Blyton's books are easy to read because they are well written, and this accommodation for lower reading ability should be celebrated as a way to introduce those who aren't strong readers to enjoying books. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:15, 13 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As Thompson describes, much political scandal was made in the newspapers throughout the 50s/60s/70s when an instance of "bookbanning" came to light, so naturally any such story tended to be covered with aplomb. No governmental authority intervened in any of these noted instances generally speaking; such decisions were originally made by individual librarians or libraries, and then litigated in community forums when challenged by constituents and/or reported in the press. Public outcry generally led to relevant oversight bodies reversing these librarians' decisions. Not surprisingly, the average citizen generally took poorly to such efforts, which were often criticized as elitist, pedantic, arbitrary, and/or hypocritical.
The whole thing comes off as pretty ridiculous in hindsight, especially in the context of the bookburning behaviour of National Socialists in Europe a couple of decades earlier, and in light of so many adult books from the mid twentieth century which are objectively much more scandalous and understandably controversial. But it's a fascinating phenomenon worth a deeper look if you ever have the time. ElCharismo (talk) 10:34, 9 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And on the subject of Blyton having "greatest number of banned books ever", this seems to be somewhat anecdotal (even if you don't get into semantics about what constitutes a true ban). There is no statistical citation in Tucker's book; he references the Thompson book I mentioned above (though he cites the wrong chapter). In Thompson's book the actual quotation on Blyton refers to the level of controversy within a specific period of time (and only in the British commonwealth), not any quantitative summation of total banning incidents. The American Library Association tracks banned books, but has only been keeping statistics since 1990, and I haven't found any other authority on the subject that mentions Enid Blyton or covers the most relevant years. So without asking Mr. Tucker himself, we might never know where he got that tidbit. ElCharismo (talk) 10:34, 9 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2603:8001:B840:8B82:6091:60F9:B75A:406 (talk) 22:13, 24 December 2020 (UTC)Can someone explain why Colin Welch's nasty pointless attacks are included here? What is the point of airing someones nasty vindictive opinions? If Blyton's books were as bad as they say, they wouldn't have sold out 600 million copies. Such 'criticisms' are ridiculous and serve no purposeReply[reply]


Many would contest the accusations of sexism, as she wrote so many amazing female characters. Malory Towers and the Twins at St Claire's feature exclusively young female characters that are strong, clever, creative, funny, sporty etc. They're all dynamically written female characters. The Famous Five, Secret Seven, Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree series have both male and female characters that are in no way implied to be unequal. Not to mention, George from the Famous Five can be considered transgender (keeping hair short, called "George" and won't answer to Georgina, likes being called Master George instead of Miss) and this is never used as a joke or negative element, and is readily accepted by the other characters.


Some research into this might be useful, since you mention it. For example, Island of Adventure, 1944, is basically Tintin et l'Ile Noire, 1938. Fuficius Fango (talk) 15:25, 10 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah ... I don't think so! I think that the artwork on the cover of these two books evokes familiar emotions in the reader in much the same way that the imagery of Dune 'feels' like Lawrence of Arabia. Every artist is subject to influences and categorisation. Blyton churned out up to 50 books a year. I am going to guess that she had a rough feel for where she wanted a story to go but for the most part they and the characters emerged dynamically as she wrote them.
Plagiarism is the goto for talentless hacks. Blyton was not one of these! 2001:8003:70F5:2400:85CF:7454:159A:EEB2 (talk) 12:15, 3 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

End Blyton is age[edit]

What was her age when she started writing? 2405:201:16:31A7:FD88:329E:D6EC:B0C5 (talk) 13:27, 2 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article says "... in 1911, entered Arthur Mee's children's poetry competition." So that was at the age of 13 or 14? Martinevans123 (talk) 13:30, 2 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]