Enid Blyton’s Famous Five’s ‘jolly japes’, ‘dirty tinkers’ soon to be history

July 24th, 2010 - 2:08 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 24 (ANI): It’s time to bid a farewell to the old Enid Blyton Famous Five and usher in the modern ones.

Starting next month, Enid Blyton’s language is being dragged out of the 1940s by her publisher in an attempt to give her books greater appeal for today’s children.

Phrases like ‘awful swotters’, ‘dirty tinkers’ and ‘jolly japes’ will now be a thing of the past.

“Children who read [the Famous Five books] need to be able to easily understand the characterisations and easily to get into the plots. If the text is revised [they're] more likely to be able to engage with them,” The Guardian quoted Anne McNeil, publishing director of Hodder Children’s Books, as saying.

The narrative of the novels will remain the same, but expressions such as ‘mercy me!’ have been changed by Hodder to ‘oh no!’, ‘fellow’ to ‘old man’ and ‘it’s all very peculiar’ to ‘it’s all very strange’.

‘Housemistress’ will be ‘teacher’, ‘awful swotter’ will be ‘bookworm’, ‘mother and father’ will be ‘mum and dad’, ’school tunic’ will be “uniform” and Dick’s comment that ’she must be jolly lonely all by herself’ will be changed to ’she must get lonely all by herself’.

“Language just changes, it evolves, and the problem is if we don’t evolve with it, then the new generation of kids is not going to have anything to relate to.

When these books were published, ‘jeepers’ and ‘golly gosh’ was modern slang. It makes perfect sense to update the language,” said children’s author Andy Briggs.

However, some are against this change vehemently.

“I am in approval of changing language which has perhaps become offensive or has different meanings, or any racist references. But changes for the sake of them, I disapprove of,” said Tony Summerfield, who runs the Enid Blyton Society.

“How can you change Nobby to Ned and yet leave Dick and Fanny? It doesn’t make sense,” he added.

The good news, though, is that the original editions will still be available. (ANI)

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