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Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Eddie Muir » 09 Oct 2017, 14:30

Thanks for the very interesting analysis of The Mystery of Holly Lane, Duncan. :D
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 09 Oct 2017, 14:33

I liked the change from "Pintriss" to "Grintriss" too, Rob!

I'm intrigued to know whether or not Marian was still described as "A white-faced girl" in the edition which portrayed her as black on the cover!
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Eddie Muir » 09 Oct 2017, 14:40

I’m intrigued too, Anita. I must try to find a copy and check Marian’s description.
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby sixret » 09 Oct 2017, 15:51

I have just finished reading the article. A very interesting one, Duncan especially the last part. :D

Eric Rogers' comment. Wow!!! I am shocked. I wonder where can I find the quote?
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Courtenay » 09 Oct 2017, 16:44

Rob Houghton wrote:
Anita Bensoussane wrote:I imagine Marian has been portrayed as a black character for the sake of diversity. It may make the book seem more up to date and help readers of all races feel part of the fictional world - though of course it could be argued that a black Marian is not what Enid Blyton intended and doesn't reflect life in a small English village in the early 1950s. Award did the same in their short story collections - i.e. some characters were shown in the illustrations as being of black or Asian heritage.


Interesting! I bet that none of the baddies (ie Wilfrid) have been turned into black or Asian characters though...! ;-) Then again, I suppose they could get away with that, as Marian and Wilfrid are cousins. Enid describes Marian as 'A white faced girl' when the Find Outers discover her locked up and free her (depicted on the cover, so no real plot spoiler!!) so presumably these texts have been altered. If Marian really has 'become black' then her grand father must also be black. That alters quite a bit of the text, I should think!


Or else it's quite possible that this is yet another instance of the cover illustrator (there aren't any internal illustrations in that edition) having not actually read the book in question... :roll:

I don't have any problem myself with Enid's short stories and so on being illustrated with characters of different ethnic appearances — if there's absolutely nothing in the story to say what skin colour or hair colour a particular character has (which is often the case), why not? It just increases the appeal to a wider range of children and helps to convey even more of a sense that any young reader could be part of these adventures too... :D But in series like the Famous Five and the Find-Outers, where the stories are much more specifically set in Britain in the now-fairly-distant past, I don't think it would work nearly as well.
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Green Hedges » 09 Oct 2017, 22:17

Thanks for all the responses. Interesting recent covers, Pete. And as Rob, Anita and Courtenay say it will be fascinating to see what the text in that particular edition says about Marian's appearance.

Hi Sixret. Eric Rogers did not actually say what I have quoted. That this line was a made-up one was intended to be signalled by my next sentence. A difficult area though. As writers we all have the choice to change from being serious (absolutely genuine research!) to being facetious (sometimes as a result of the findings of the research). And in so doing inevitably it's possible to confuse a reader. One has to keep faith with one's sense of clarity, one's sense of humour and a moral compass. But it's impossible to communicate the same meaning to everyone, especially when talking about an inter-generational, global phenomenon such as Enid Blyton.

I'm hoping to get some more response to the findings about Enid's use of her signature in the Find Outers typescripts. And in particular from Rob and Tony, who each have exclusive access to a Find Outers typescript other than Holly Lane. Both have been in touch today so I have high hopes. :D
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Tony Summerfield » 09 Oct 2017, 22:35

I have told Duncan in an email that the bit about me, Gillian and the typescripts isn't quite as he thought, so I said I would straighten it out for him. I visited Gillian at her house in Ilkley in 1997. During the course of the visit she opened up a large cupboard and showed me a large quantity of typescripts from various series that she had. These were all carbon copies which had been kept by Enid, the originals had all been kept (or thrown away!) by publishers apart from one or two which Enid asked if she could have back for exhibition purposes. It is very easy to tell the difference as all the top copies had some red on them as Enid almost always underlined in red, but of course all this is in black on the carbon copy.

I asked Gillian if she could donate one or two carbon copies to the Society as she had such a large number and she readily agreed but told me that she would sort some out. It took two years and numerous reminders for me to actually get them but she gave the Society one each of several major series apart from the Secret Seven as here she said that she could only find one typescript which she wanted to keep, so there she gave me the typescript from the rewritten version for Mickey Mouse Magazine.

She didn't actually move house for a few years after this and it was then that she told me in one of our phone conversations that she was having a major clear out as she was downsizing in the move. She had thrown away several items of clothing that had belonged to Enid and said she wasn't even sure why she had kept them for so many years as she never wore them. She then told me that apart from a few examples which she had kept for herself she had thrown away all the typescripts. I was absolutely horrified and told her so, but she replied that they were of no value as they were only carbon copies! These were Enid's own file copies and all had any alterations on them, normally in blue pen. The ones that Gillian had kept were sold in the auction after her death and mostly bought by Seven Stories - I am not sure if there were any originals apart from the Famous Five Play. I hope that this clears things up.
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 10 Oct 2017, 07:23

Thanks for clarifying things, Tony. I remember you telling us before about Gillian throwing away some of Enid Blyton's things in the early 2000s, including Enid's fountain pen which no longer worked. It seems a terrible shame that the typescripts and personal items had been kept for several decades after Enid's death, only to meet such a fate. I'm sure Seven Stories could have made use of the clothes in their exhibition - and typescripts shed invaluable light on the writing process, as we've seen. I suppose Gillian just felt she was sorting through her mother's belongings and was thinking of Enid as her mother, rather than as Enid Blyton the famous children's author.
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Green Hedges » 10 Oct 2017, 10:21

Very interesting info from Tony and an understanding response to Gillian's actions from Anita, but it might be useful to further spell out what has happened here.

Gillian published two small books about her mother in 1997 and 2000 and was well used to thinking of her as a famous - indeed, legendary - writer, as well as her mother.

As Tony tells us, in his role as head of EBS, he let Gillian know in 1997 that he (and by association a lot of Enid Blyton Society members and Enid Blyton readers) was interested in the EB typescripts because of the info contained therein about Enid's writing process. Gillian ostensibly recognised this, and, when pushed, did indeed provide the Society with a few precious examples of typescripts, including one Find-Outers typescript. But then she went ahead and destroyed a great deal more of them. Surely that's a failure of memory - she should have known that the EBS would have gladly taken all typescripts she had in store. And a failure of imagination in not appreciating what a literary treasure trove she had in her safe-keeping.

Anyway, that's all in the past. What we have now as far as Find Outers typescripts is concerned, are three. One at Seven Stories, one with Viking Star and one in EBS/Tony's safekeeping. Currently being thought about (at least I'm thinking about it!) is Enid's signing of what I can now see is a very important document - the book's foreword. My latest post gives access to the signature on The Mystery of Holly Lane typescript. It would be interesting to compare it with that on the other two extant typescripts. Viking Star's scanner is broken, so we may have to wait a while to see any signature on The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage. But presumably this is a good opportunity for us to take a look at the foreword to The Mystery of the Vanished Prince. Could you arrange that for us Tony? Perhaps as part of this thread? What you provide in the Cave of Books and elsewhere keeps you extremely busy and this just adds to your admin burden, but I for one am very curious and would be grateful.

Enid's signature is a complicated thing. There are the signatures she did, no doubt very quickly, when signing piles of her own books. There is the signature, made slick by the publicity department, that the various publishers perfected for the dustjackets and printed forewords of their books. But, this is different. As I try and argue in my blog post, Enid was signing-off the book she had just written - having read it through, given it chapter headings and a title - and as a result may have given that signature special qualities. For a start, the usual double line under her name comes out as a z on the Holly Lane typescript. I haven't seen that before. Is it like that on the foreword of that most brilliant of Find Outers books, Vanished Prince?

Here's hoping to see how Enid felt about herself as the author of The Mystery of the Vanished Prince shortly after putting it down on paper in her unique way! :D
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby pete9012S » 10 Oct 2017, 11:12

Most interesting.
Many thanks to Duncan and Tony for providing us with such fascinating information about Enid's work and how it was created.
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby sixret » 10 Oct 2017, 15:49

Thank you Duncan and Tony for the clarification. :D
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Green Hedges » 10 Oct 2017, 17:35

Viking Star has very kindly provided me with a a scan of the typewritten foreword to The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage. So I've added a Postscript to the blog I posted yesterday: http://www.enidblyton.me.uk/styled-25/index.html
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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Rob Houghton » 10 Oct 2017, 18:05

Great stuff! Interesting to see the typed signature and Enid's instructions!

i was going to mention that the only real EB signature I've got, in a signed book, has the two lines underneath joined together, almost like this - < (just mentioning it because it was mentioned earlier that the two lines looked almost like a 'z' on one version. :-D
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 10 Oct 2017, 18:23

Yes, it's very interesting to see it! Thanks, Duncan - and Viking Star (Rob)!
"Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!" - Jack, The Secret Island.

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Re: Looking For Fatty & co. in Peterswood/Bourne End

Postby Lenoir » 10 Oct 2017, 19:02

It is very interesting to delve into a manuscript, and one that we know so well. I enjoyed going through that article.

And I appreciated the ending - the reference to Vincent van Gogh. Coincidentally, I have similar picture on the wall this month, with the signature, as it is the one for October on a calendar I have.
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