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.Enid Blytons's main series include:
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.
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/ .
This author's books provide examples of:
Absent-Minded Professor: A stock trope for Enid's works. Most evident in Uncle Quentin from the Famous Five novels.
Acceptable Feminine Goals: 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.
Adults Are Useless - partly justified since the adults tend, for the most part, to react the way regular adults would. Often it's not so much a case of 'Adults Are Useless' as 'Adults aren't as suspicious as they should be and don't trust their children'. Uncle Quentin is a particularly good example in that his major failing is that he is just like George - as hot headed as a blowtorch!
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. The most recent was a "modernization" of the Famous Five done by Hodder in 2010 that changed the slang (e.g. swotter to bookworm) and tried to bring in more gender equality.
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, though.)
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 II 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.
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.
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. Jo from The Faraway Tree also had a sister called that.
Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted (mostly), notably in Malory Towers, in which the logical progression in ages is unavoidable. The Famous Five, however, are notable for being portrayed as in their mid-teens at most even though the preponderance of school holidays gives a timeline of several years. (Cover illustrations have attempted to portray them as older but that creates its own problems.)
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.
Romani: 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'.
Space Whale Aesop: One of her short stories has the message "Don't kill spiders, because if you leave them alone and then lose some money in the street then you might find it later in a web that they weave."
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 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". At the time it was published, it would have been obvious to the readers who they were. The audiobook edition released in the 1990s made it clear that the story was set during World War II and "the enemy" were Nazis, including giving them German accents.
Timmy in a Well: Used more than once. In the first Famous Five book this happens very literally when Timmy the dog chases a rabbit and falls down an old well. In this case, though, it's the children who rescue the dog, rather than vise-versa!
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.
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.