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Enid Blyton

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Did anyone watch the fascinating programmes about Enid Blyton on BBC Four last night? I watched as I was a great fan of her books when I learned to read.

It struck me that she (and to a lesser extent the men in her life) was not merely bullying towards her children but positively fascist. I feel she could have poisoned them with equanimity for the greater good, lost in some fantasy world just like old Frau Goebbels. (At least that was how Enid was portrayed in the film; I have no way of knowing actually how accurate that all was).

Did fascism - which ran through all countries in the 1930s to a greater or lesser extent - infect the way some parents viewed their offspring? There was much in the attitudes portrayed in the film that I recognised in my own parents. I always thought that my family were just dysfunctional, but maybe such attitudes went considerably wider. Indeed, parents like Blyton may be with us still.

Posted at 17th Nov 2009 - 11:07AM   Posted by Fennie   Enid Blyton Comments: 12

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Pipany's Avatar We watched it Fennie and thought it fascinating. Not sure just how accurate its portrayal was and have heard she was an appalling mother, but it certainly makes me go cold when I think of the way she treated her children.

Posted by: Pipany on 17th Nov 2009 at 11:10AM

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Westerwitch's Avatar Interesting that someone who could write so well and engage with children on the page failed so miserably with her own children. It does tarnish the magic of Enid Blyton knowing what she was like.

Posted by: Westerwitch on 17th Nov 2009 at 11:20AM

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Faith's Avatar Damn - missed it. I am interested in her - maybe they will repeat.

Posted by: Faith on 17th Nov 2009 at 11:31AM

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You can watch it on iPlayer here, Faith.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nxkm8

I didn't see it, but plan to watch it later, so will comment then.

Posted by: Zoe on 17th Nov 2009 at 12:10PM

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Tiggywinkle's Avatar I meant to watch it, but forgot. I remember reading an article years ago, written by one of her daughters about the dreadful mother she was, and how miserable they were. I just couldn't believe that someone who brought such joy and happiness to millions of children, could have been so awful to her own children. It upset me so much, I cannot bring myself to read an Enid Blyton story to my grandchildren. I cannot bear unkindness to a child, and I even have goose bumps writing this. Dreadful woman.

Posted by: Tiggywinkle on 17th Nov 2009 at 12:12PM

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Elizabethd's Avatar Watched it and found it very sad. I wonder if the daughters are still around?

Posted by: Elizabethd on 17th Nov 2009 at 12:34PM

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Tiggywinkle's Avatar Elizabeth, one of her daughters is still alive. If you google Enid Blyton there's lots about her.
Have just realized I do read Enid Blyton to my grandchildren. They all love Noddy. I suppose I will just have to get over how I feel about her, as her stories are so much part of childhood. I also went right off Bing Crosby, when I read about the awful time his children had. How can people be so cruel to children. Thanks for the link, Zoe.

Posted by: Tiggywinkle on 17th Nov 2009 at 01:00PM

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Pondside's Avatar I wish I could have seen that program, Fennie. I recall reading something written by a daughter - made me look at EB in a different way. I think I'd have to see the program to understand what you mean about parents of the day. I know that my sisters and I had a rich imaginative world based on the St Clair stories - the characters such as Alma Pudding and others we made up. Like Tiggy, I read Noddy to my children as well.

Posted by: Pondside on 17th Nov 2009 at 03:26PM

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Fennie's Avatar You could watch it on BBC iPlayer, Pondside. Zoe has given the link. The programme was on BBC Four at 9pm. There was a second programme with Maureen Lipman afterwards. It was an excellent play with a first class performance by Helena Bonham Carter (I think) as Enid Blyton. Quite wonderful acting.

Posted by: Fennie on 17th Nov 2009 at 03:35PM

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Boudicca23's Avatar When I worked as a legal secretary in the 1980s, the partner I worked for was Gillian Baverstock's solicitor - she was one of Enid Blyton's 2 daughters. I never had any contact with her and I don't remember what it was he did for her. Possibly trust work for her children.

Posted by: Boudicca23 on 17th Nov 2009 at 04:19PM

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Camilla's Avatar Thank you Fennie, I knew this was on but so was the new programme I wanted to watch on BB2, is art beautiful presented by that wonderful woman Sue Perkins. I will try and catch up with the Enid Blyton on BBC i Player.

I had all of the Enid Blyton books when I was younger, loved them all.

Posted by: Camilla on 18th Nov 2009 at 01:25AM

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LittleBrownDog's Avatar Another programme I wish I hadn't missed, but thank goodness for iPlayer - and thanks for the link. Probably covered in the programme, but it has always struck me how absent adults are from her books. It's as though she saw children and adults as inhabiting completely separate worlds. Perhaps she saw her own children as an extension of her literary fantasy world, just theoretical people to mould into a narrative of her own choosing.

And, no, you're not the only one to grow up in a dysfunctional family Fennie. Wink.

Posted by: LittleBrownDog on 18th Nov 2009 at 02:44PM

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