The Enid Blyton Society

Journal 62

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Re: Journal 62

Postby Rob Houghton » 19 May 2017, 12:05

Anita Bensoussane wrote:Thanks very much for adding it, Tony. A rhythmic collection of poems which bring various toys to life, though I doubt the second rhyme would ever be republished now! 'The Toy Farm' strikes me as having an odd ending - and what a peculiar illustration of "little Teddy Bear" on the final page. He looks more like a person wearing a pantomime cat costume! Rather a strange book really and not the best example of Enid Blyton's verse, but it's always good to see these early publications.


Yes - very interesting to see this. It is a rather strange book in some ways, I agree!

I agree that the second rhyme would certainly never be published now - although as they say 'context is everything' and I found it interesting, reading the poem, that it is not at all offensive except from a modern viewpoint. We always try to attribute modern sensibilities to these things, but the way Enid writes about the 'jolly nigger boy' is a perfect example of how normal such a phrase was back then, and certainly not meant to be offensive in any way.

Great to see this old book, as I'm sure many of us will never see it in person! :-)
'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: Journal 62

Postby Moonraker » 19 May 2017, 13:15

Rob Houghton wrote: but the way Enid writes about the 'jolly nigger boy' is a perfect example of how normal such a phrase was back then, and certainly not meant to be offensive in any way.


Thankfully, times have changed.
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Re: Journal 62

Postby Kate Mary » 19 May 2017, 13:56

It's always interesting to see these early books. The illustrations are a bit peculiar but fascinating to see the vintage toys. If only Enid had called that poem The Jolly Minstrel Boy....! Thanks to Tony for letting us read this very rare book.
"I love everything that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine."

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Re: Journal 62

Postby Rob Houghton » 19 May 2017, 14:14

Moonraker wrote:
Rob Houghton wrote: but the way Enid writes about the 'jolly nigger boy' is a perfect example of how normal such a phrase was back then, and certainly not meant to be offensive in any way.


Thankfully, times have changed.


You mean now we are just plain offensive and we realise it? ;-)
'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: Journal 62

Postby Courtenay » 19 May 2017, 15:47

Rob Houghton wrote:You mean now we are just plain offensive and we realise it? ;-)


That's just what I was thinking! :wink:

Yes, a rather odd (dare I say "queer"? :shock: ) little book, but I agree with Rob, the second poem is offensive only because of the racial term, not because of the actual content. If he were a clown doll or a sailor doll, no-one would bat an eyelid even now. There's nothing to suggest the doll himself is stupid, lazy, ugly etc. because of his skin colour. It does go to show how most people in Britain at that time (especially children) used the word "nigger" with little or no consciousness that it was a very offensive word as far as black people themselves were concerned. Unlike in America, I'm sure many white children in 1920s Britain would never even have seen a black person in day-to-day life. Times have changed hugely and I'm glad they have, but I do think it's more helpful to look at items like that poem in the context of their time and understand them from that perspective than to simply write them off as Enid (or anyone else) being "racist".
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Re: Journal 62

Postby Moonraker » 19 May 2017, 16:10

Haha! It would appear that is perfectly all right to be offensive and know it as long as you don't offend minorities. I never really understand offence.

There are many things of which I might not approve, and referring to black children as "little niggers" seems to me to be particularly wrong. That is was acceptable in 1940 thankfully doesn't mean it is acceptable now. I hope that clears up any confusion, Rob and Courtenay.
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Re: Journal 62

Postby Rob Houghton » 19 May 2017, 18:14

Moonraker wrote:Haha! It would appear that is perfectly all right to be offensive and know it as long as you don't offend minorities. I never really understand offence.

There are many things of which I might not approve, and referring to black children as "little niggers" seems to me to be particularly wrong. That is was acceptable in 1940 thankfully doesn't mean it is acceptable now. I hope that clears up any confusion, Rob and Courtenay.


Did you actually read the poem? It's certainly not aimed at black children, but at a toy which represents a 'minstrel with a banjo that you wind up.

Times change, and I agree that its definitely right we no longer use words like this - but thirty years ago we were calling women 'birds' and we were allowed to call obese people 'fat'. ;-)
'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: Journal 62

Postby Tony Summerfield » 19 May 2017, 19:50

What I find quite amusing is that I actually loaded this book two months ago on March 19th and nobody noticed it, despite me having said a couple of days before that I was going to do so.

These books are indeed very scarce and I don't imagine that I will ever see a copy of it either, I simply have scans of the pages. One of the reasons that others in the series are not likely to come to light in the near future is as you can see in this book that the name Enid Blyton isn't in it. I guess it also doesn't help that nobody knows what the missing titles are! :D
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Re: Journal 62

Postby Courtenay » 19 May 2017, 20:08

Rob Houghton wrote:and we were allowed to call obese people 'fat'. ;-)


Enid had no hesitation about doing that either! :lol: Anyway, I would have thought "obese" is a more insulting term than "fat". Fat is fat, but obese is fatter than fat. :mrgreen:
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Re: Journal 62

Postby Rob Houghton » 19 May 2017, 20:14

I agree! As kids we always used to say the rhyme 'Two fat gentlemen met in the lane' etc. :-)

Tony - I didn't realise you'd posted this book months ago - I must have missed that - pleased I finally got to see it! :-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: Journal 62

Postby Courtenay » 19 May 2017, 22:04

Rob Houghton wrote:I agree! As kids we always used to say the rhyme 'Two fat gentlemen met in the lane' etc. :-)


So did we — aha, I've found the classic recording of it we all knew from Play School (in 1980s Australia, that is), although without the video that used to accompany it, unfortunately. Of course we used to do the actions with our fingers along with it. Ah, memories... :D And then of course there was the Fat Controller from Thomas the Tank Engine. I'm sure he must have been censored out of it by now. :roll:

Thanks from me too, Tony, for putting this up in the Cave — I don't always keep up with everything that's available there. It's marvellous how we can see and read all these rare Blyton items that most of us would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
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Re: Journal 62

Postby Rob Houghton » 19 May 2017, 22:17

Courtenay wrote:And then of course there was the Fat Controller from Thomas the Tank Engine. I'm sure he must have been censored out of it by now. :roll:



He's been renamed now. :-( I think they use his 'real name' - Sir Toppham Hatt
'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: Journal 62

Postby Moonraker » 20 May 2017, 18:53

Tony Summerfield wrote:What I find quite amusing is that I actually loaded this book two months ago on March 19th and nobody noticed it, despite me having said a couple of days before that I was going to do so.


Better late than never, eh? :wink:

Rob wrote:Did you actually read the poem? It's certainly not aimed at black children, but at a toy which represents a 'minstrel with a banjo that you wind up.


Of course I read it and I didn't say I thought it was aimed at black children! However, Jolly nigger boy could be considered to apply to a child, and I wouldn't have thought that was acceptable in today's enlightened Britain. Come on Rob, you knew what I meant! :|
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Re: Journal 62

Postby Rob Houghton » 20 May 2017, 19:08

Moonraker wrote:
Of course I read it and I didn't say I thought it was aimed at black children! However, Jolly nigger boy could be considered to apply to a child, and I wouldn't have thought that was acceptable in today's enlightened Britain. Come on Rob, you knew what I meant! :|


Seriously - I didn't. :oops: Thanks for putting me right! ;-)

From what you said - "referring to black children as "little niggers" seems to me to be particularly wrong." I mistook your meaning and wondered if you'd read the poem. My mistake. 8)
'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: Journal 62

Postby Lenoir » 29 Jul 2017, 18:50

I enjoyed this issue, a great selection of articles. Anne's diary was something different - very good how Ilsa recreates the way a young girl would keep a diary in those times.
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