IN the wake of the controversy over the removal of hundreds of “offensive” words from Roald Dahl’s iconic books, it has emerged Enid Blyton’s works have also undergone an extensive overhaul.

What’s happening?

Blyton, born in 1897 in London, remains one of the world’s best-selling writers, with her Famous Five and The Secret Seven adventures among her best known works, along with Malory Towers and Noddy, but over the years, she has faced accusations of racism and sexism due to terminology in the tomes she wrote in her lifetime.

She was prolific?

Having become a full-time writer from the age of 24, Blyton wrote more than 700 books which have sold more than 600 million copies and continue to sell around eight million copies per year.


Analysis featured in the Daily Mail found her books have had a host of terms removed, with the word “queer”, for example, in her first Famous Five novel “Five on Treasure Island”, oft used to describe everything but sexuality - removed and replaced with words such as "funny" and "strange" in the current Hodder Children's Books editions. A reference to a "spanking" in a Famous Five tale saying "Where's George? She wants spanking", now reads "She wants a good talking to.”

Any other examples?

The paper documents that in Blyton’s 1946 book, First Term at Malory Towers, the phrase "A tall, dark girl, quiet in her manner” now reads “A tall girl, quiet in her manner”.

It comes in the wake of…

…controversy over “woke” editing of 16 Dahl classics by Puffin Books that sees words removed and sentences - not written by Dahl - included. For example, In Dahl’s 1964 classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, Augustus Gloop is described as “enormously fat” but is now just “enormous”. In Roald Dahl’s The Witches, first published in 1983, a line saying a witch could be pretending to be a woman “working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman” now reads a woman who “may be working as a top scientist or running a business”.

What has the reaction been?

The controversy over the Dahl edits in particular continues, with the Queen Consort calling on authors to resist curbs being placed on freedom of expression. Speaking at a Clarence House reception to mark the second anniversary of her online book club, Camilla told authors last week: “Please remain true to your calling, unimpeded by those who may wish to curb the freedom of your expression or impose limits on your imagination.”


Comic and The Office creator, Ricky Gervais, had fun mocking the situation on Twitter, posting an image of himself in a seemingly reflective mood, saying: “This is me pondering whether they'll change any of the words I've used in my work after I'm dead, to spare those who are fragile and easily offended. Words like 'fat' and 'ugly'. And ‘c***’ and ‘f***’. And 'fat, ugly, greedy, pathetic little stupid f****** c***’. Stuff like that.”


Puffin has announced that in the wake of the backlash, an unedited “classic” Dahl collection will also be available “to keep the author’s classic texts in print”.