Monday, August 25, 2008

Does Anyone Else Remember Enid Blyton?

Here’s an article about British author Enid Blyton. I vividly remember reading a series of her books for kids: The Castle of Adventure, The Island of Adventure, The Cave of Adventure (you get the drift), and I can envision exactly their location in the public library I went to growing up. The books were exciting and mysterious (usually four kids who get stranded somewhere exotic, beyond the reach of parental types, and have to battle a band of smugglers or something); they were also so, so British (the kids were flicking on “torches” when I thought they might use a flashlight instead).

But in later life, I never seemed to come across her name or titles, so it’s fun to learn more about her and see that she is a beloved author…but dismaying to hear that her work does not bear rereading as an adult, and so her books are probably best left in the fuzzy past, back on that shelf in the Iowa City Public Library:

“Blyton wrote more than 800 books in her 50-year career - 37 of them in 1951 alone, during which productive peak she was estimated to be churning out about 10,000 words a day. This is not a work rate that lends itself to the refining of prosaic ore into literary gold. Blyton was a one-woman mass production line, turning out workman-like units to serve a particular need at a particular time in a child's life, not finely wrought pieces of art destined to have their secrets delicately unpicked over the years by a gradually maturing sensibility.”

(Link via Bookslut.)


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.