These are photos from Corfe Castle in Dorset, this place provided the inspiration for The Famous Five by Enid Blyton who would holiday in Corfe several times a year with her cousins. Enid Blyton, in case you’ve never heard of her, is one of the most successful authors of all time. Talk about endurance, this woman has sold over 600 million copies of her work globally, and it’s still wildly enjoyed to this day!
She has been criticised extensively for her work being overly derivative, xenophobic, racist and with no literary value at all, but children (who learn best by repetition) love her stories, and they continue to sell globally. They are a product of their time. I was most engaged with her serials… I think children enjoy series books because it gives them several stories written into a single context… Mallory Towers, Secret Seven, Famous Five, Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree were my favourites… I never really liked the Noddy stories, though as a child the idea of two male toys sleeping together at night as a child, didn’t even phase me. As an adult I started reading a Noddy story to my niece and I just couldn’t stop laughing at the innuendo – I wonder if Enid Blyton wrote that in intentionally because she was very intelligent.
I remember loving Enid Blyton as a child – I’d even go so far as to say it’s her fault that I wanted to become a writer from when I was six years old. Somehow she tapped into everything I wanted to read and know about, her style of writing was so immersive, that it would feel as if no time had passed from opening the cover to closing the book. Having recently bought some Enid Blyton picture books for my own daughter (the Wishing Chair and the Faraway Tree series), it struck me how much endurance Enid Blyton (definitely a product of her own time) has had since her beginnings in 1934.
“it is partly the struggle that helps you so much, that gives you determination, character, self-reliance – all things that help in any profession or trade, and most certainly in writing” – Enid Blyton
I know these aren’t the greatest pictures (they were taken back when what I knew about photography could fit on a postage stamp) their resolution and size is too small – limitations of memory cards in 2009, though they were taken at ISO 100 – so there is that.
1. “I’d love to write a novel… about children, and the jolly, happy things of life.” Enid Blyton -A Diorama of children going exploring reminiscent of the Famous Five, stories inspired by Enid Blyton’s holidays to Dorset.
2. Two images combined to show two different styles of architecture, both demonstrating endurance by standing for hundreds of years.
3. Corfe Castle stands in ruins in the background, her shape still enduring after all this time.
4. An invitation to explore and imagine stories of detecting and smuggling – what makes the Famous Five the best?
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