Yesterday, the right-leaning part of the population who seem to believe that culture as they know it is in danger of being cancelled (whatever that may mean. Ed.), was fulminating against yet another of those left-leaning organisations – English Heritage. Its crime: amending its online information about the children’s author Enid Blyton to reflect more accurately her writing and views.
While English Heritage’s blue plaque commemorating Blyton remains unchanged, the charity’s online information about her now details the problematic aspects of her writing and views.
In particular, the information on Blyton has been amended to describe her writing as including racism and xenophobia whilst lacking literary merit.
To illustrate Blyton’s racism, English Heritage’s online content notes that in 1960 Macmillan refused to publish Blyton’s children’s novel The Mystery That Never Was, noting her “faint but unattractive touch of old-fashioned xenophobia”. As a child, I can’t say I remember noticing the racism and xenophobia so much on the very rare occasions I picked up Blyton as a child (the golliwogs should have started the alarm bells ringing. Ed.), but the lack of literary merit was clearly apparent to my developing brain. Her work came across as simplistic and formulaic, but my brother loved her stories, a matter in which he persisted despite the mocking and urging from my sister and me that he read something less lightweight.
Although she did not specifically mention Blyton by name, it was clear that actor and comedian Joyce Grenfell clearly had Enid in her sights in her monologue Writer Of Children’s Books, as embedded below.