Enid Blyton

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Enid Blyton was a prolific author of English children's literature, producing around 800 books during her forty-year career, which were many people's first introduction to literature, and which still sell well to day. To date her books have sold over 600 million copies worldwide.

Her writing is mostly set in an idealised version of pre-war England, and reflects the attitudes of the time, using some now-dead tropes about race, sex, and social class, commonly mocked when Blyton is parodied. Often, her characters spend days roaming across the countryside, without any trace of adult supervision, eating lavish picnics and having jolly adventures fighting assorted villains.

While her work was highly influential (even all these years later, those who have read Blyton can't help but be reminded of the St. Clare's and Malory Towers books while reading about Hogwarts) there is a fairly large amount of Values Dissonance strewn liberally among her books, and it has come under controversy, although even that hasn't stopped her books from still being widely bought and read today.

Many of her works have been televised or filmed. The Famous Five is the one most commonly referenced. Blyton also wrote hundreds of stand-alone novels. Her books still sell around eight million copies a year. The Famous Five books alone sell more than two million copies a year according to The Other Wiki.

There are two fansites at http://enidblyton.net and http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/ .

Works written by Enid Blyton include:
  • "Noddy" (24 books). Set in Toyland.
  • The Famous Five (21 books). Four children and a dog, who regularly stumble across mysterious happenings.
  • The Adventure Series (8 books). Four children and their cockatoo have an adventure each time they go on holiday together.
  • The Mystery Series (6 books). Four children and a monkey on a quest to find one of the children's missing father, solving mysteries as they go.
  • Five Find-Outers (15 books). Five children and a dog, who solve a mystery every summer holiday,
  • The Secret Seven (15 books). Seven children in a detective club, who solve mysteries during term-time.
  • Malory Towers (6 books). One girl's progress through a Boarding School
  • St. Clare's (6 books). Two twins' progress through a Boarding School
  • The Naughtiest Girl (4 books, plus 6 by Anne Digby). Elizabeth Allen makes trouble in a progressive Boarding School.
  • The Faraway Tree (4 books). Three children find a magical tree which has a Magical Land at the top, but the land it connects to changes every week.
  • The Wishing Chair (3 books). Two children buy a magic chair from a mysterious shop.
  • The Circus Series (3 books). The adventures of a young boy and his family who join a circus.
  • Now out of print, The Three Golliwogs a book full of a trio of gollywog dolls. A publishing nightmare in terms of modern race relations. Not only are the dolls based on a racial stereotype visually, but the text uses names that have since become bound to racism. An excerpt:

Once the three bold golliwogs, Golly, Woggie, and Nigger, decided to go for a walk [...] So off went Woggie and Nigger, arm-in-arm, singing merrily their favourite song –- which, as you may guess, was Ten Little Nigger Boys.


Enid Blyton provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Absent-Minded Professor: A stock trope for Enid's works. Most evident in Uncle Quentin from the Famous Five novels.
  • Adults Are Useless
  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Anime: the St. Clare's books were adapted into the 26 episode Anime "Ochame na futago: Claire Gakuin monogatari".
  • Anti Gravity: The villains of The Mountain of Adventure are trying to build antigravity wings as a weapon.
  • Author Appeal: Enid Blyton has a fondness for writing tomboyish female characters (George, Jo, Henry, Bertha, Bobby, Bill, etc.) in her novels who either crossdress or assume male names.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty: Nobody actually says "Lashings of ginger beer".
    • The hilariously not-childsafe parody Five Go Mad in Dorset corrects this oversight.
  • Berserk Button: Most evident in George's hair trigger in the Famous Five books whenever someone is mean to her pet dog Timmy, or worse dares to call her a girl.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Anne from the Famous Five books is a Proper Lady but every once in a while, well you know how the Trope goes.
    • Darrell in the Malory Towers series is a perfectly lovely girl unless you really piss her off, and then she snaps.
  • Big Eaters: The Famous Five never fail to finish off their tea sandwiches for lunch.
  • Boarding School: The setting of the Malory Towers and St Clares books, and tangentially mentioned in most other series.
    • The Secret Seven are the most notable aversion; they are lower middle class and accordingly attend grammar school, though (as is typical) little is seen of their school life.
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens many times to the Kid Detectives.
  • Bowdlerise: Since The Eighties a lot of her books have been edited for modern consumption -- The Faraway Trees Dame Slap was turned into Dame Snap etc.
  • Cargo Cult
  • Cave Behind the Falls
  • City Mouse: Cyril, Melisande and Roderick from the Six Cousins duology.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Her works contained loving and devoted families, and children who enjoyed life. Blyton's own approach to parenting and relationship with her younger daughter tended towards Abusive Parents. (Her elder daughter had fonder memories of her).
  • Country Mouse: Jack, Jane and Susan from the Six Cousins duology.
  • During the War: Due to the period in which she was writing, this crops up quite a lot. Rationing due to World War Two leading to national hunger - well, not exactly hunger, but definitely a longing to be able to just pig out sometimes - also goes a long way towards explaining the Food Porn in her books.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Kollamoolitumarellipawkyrollo, for obvious reasons.
  • Evil Cripple: Subverted in Five Go to Smuggler's Top, the villain's henchman Block feigns deafness to avoid suspicion and eavesdrop on the secrets of the Lenoir family.
  • Five-Man Band: Famously, The Famous Five.
    • The Hero: Julian
    • The Lancer: George
    • The Smart Guy: Dick
    • The Big Guy/Team Pet: Timmy
    • The Chick: Anne
  • Food Porn: Featured vividly in several scenes such as the midnight feasts in her boarding school books and the countryside picnics in the Famous Five.
  • Gender Equal Ensemble: Her works often consist of a gender-balanced group of children, sometimes supplemented by a pet.
    • The Famous Five: Not counting the dog, the titular ensemble consists of two boys (Julian and Dick) and two girls (Georgina and Anne)
    • The Adventure Series: Two boys (Phillip and Jack) and two girls (Dinah and Lucy-Ann)
    • The Secret Series: Two boys (Jack and Mike) and two girls (Peggy and Nora)
    • The Far Away Tree: The second book has two boys and two girls.
    • The Adventurous Four: Two boys (Tom and Andy) and twin sisters (Jill and Mary)
    • Six Cousin Series: Three boys (Jack, Cyril and Roderick) and three girls (Jane, Susan and Melisande)
  • Ghibli Hills: The rather idealised landscapes through which The Famous Five et al roam and adventure.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Perhaps best exemplified in The Magic Faraway Tree when Dick, frustrated at having his name misheard by a hard-of-hearing character, shouts back at him, "Not Chick, but Dick!". You had to wonder if Enid was just a little bit in on the joke.
    • George from the Famous Five has a mother called Fanny.
  • Identical Stranger: Jo the Gypsy girl is a dead ringer for George
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: a different pattern for each series:
    • Five Go To Somewhere Or Do Something (parodied with the Comic Strip's Five Go Mad In Dorset)
    • The X of Adventure
    • The R Mystery (an adjective that begins with R)
    • Numbered Something at Malory Towers
    • Someone or X Form at St Clares
  • Kid Detective
  • Lighthouse Point
  • Master of Disguise: Fatty in the Five Find-Outers series.
  • Magical Land
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Uncle Quentin from the Famous five novels, although it's more an Informed Attribute. He's also something of a Bunny Ears Lawyer as well.
  • Portmanteau / Neologism: "Delumptious" and "scrumplicious", being the two portmanteaux of "delicious" and "scrumptious". They became famous enough to somewhat enter the language, and are quoted by Zach in Goodnight Mister Tom for example.
  • Roma: Turn up in various guises in Blyton's books. Usually heavily romanticised.
  • Red Scare: A lot of the foreign villains have an Eastern European Communist slant to them (especially East German), although they tend to be euphemistically referred to as 'agents of a foreign power'.
  • Reformed but Rejected: Mirabel in the St Clares series.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Practically all the main characters in Malory Towers - Darrell and Sally, Alicia and Betty, Mary-Lou and Daphne, and there's outright Les Yay between Bill and Clarissa.
  • Ruritania: Tauri-Hessia from the Adventure series.
  • Secret Underground Passage: Stock trope, bordering on You Fail Geology Forever on occasion.
  • Shaggy Search Technique
  • Team Pet: Most of Blyton's series featured the children with one. Most famous was probably Timmy the Dog from the Famous Five books (who was the fifth member).
  • The Cat Came Back: In "The Three Golliwogs", the golliwogs take advantage of the fact that they look identical to do this to one of their antagonists.
  • The Notable Numeral: The Famous Five and The Secret Seven.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jack Longfield gives one of these to his twin sister Jane about her poor personal hygiene in the first Six Cousins book.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Are implied to be the hostile foreign power in The Adventurous Four, although they are only ever referred to on page as "the enemy".
  • Timmy in a Well: Used more than once.
  • Tomboyish Name: In the Famous Five, Georgina always calls herself George.
    • The Alternate Character Interpretation in Fanfic is that George is a FtM Transsexualism.
    • Wilhelmina Robinson of Malory Towers calls herself (and insists on being called) Bill. Even more tomboyish than George, with the difference that nobody (not her parents, nor teachers, nor classmates) tries to force her into a 'girlish' mould. Consequently she doesn't appear to have a chip on her shoulder.
  • Treasure Map: In the first Famous Five book and one of the Adventure books.
  • True Companions: Just about all her series have the kids forming up as friends as close as family, fairly quickly.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Any given female character who isn't a Tomboy or outright evil stands a high chance of being one of these.
    • A fair proportion of the girls from Malory Towers seem to avoid this trope - four of them go on to university, one to a very prestigious musical career, and two set up a business together. One of them would have been an Olympic swimmer except for a disregard for the rules which nearly got her killed.
  • Yellow Peril: Subverted with "the King of the Mountain" in The Mountain of Adventure, an Oriental Mad Scientist who seems to be an example of this trope, but is in fact just a harmless eccentric who's being manipulated by the real villains.