Once a treasure always a treasure… even if means changing the lingo. They've done it to the Ancients - Homer, Socrates, Ovid - and the Classics - Shakespeare, Goethe, Milton - too many to mention, so that we modern plebs can access, appreciate and perpetuate the creative greats. Now they're giving the marvellous Enid Blyton a turn.
The Guardian reports that, approaching 70 years since they were written, publishers have ‘updated’ Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series because they feared her 1940s vernacular was putting off 21st century kids.
Commenting on Hodder’s decision to release ten updated versions of Blyton’s Famous Five novels, journalist Alison Flood bade “farewell’ to “awful swotters,” “dirty tinkers” and “jolly japes,” explaining:
“Hodder is ‘sensitively and carefully’ revising Blyton’s text after research with children and parents showed that the author’s old-fashioned language and dated expressions were preventing young readers from enjoying the stories. The narrative of the novels will remain the same, but expressions such as ‘mercy me!’ have been changed to ‘oh no!,’ ‘fellow’ to ‘old man’ and ‘it’s all very peculiar’ to ‘it’s all very strange.’ …
“Other changes include ‘housemistress’ becoming ‘teacher,’ ‘awful swotter’ becoming ‘bookworm,’ ‘mother and father’ becoming ‘mum and dad,’ ‘school tunic’ becoming ‘uniform’ and Dick’s comment that ‘she must be jolly lonely all by herself’ being changed to ‘she must get lonely all by herself.’”
Mercy me! The old lady might be rolling in her grave, but hopefully happily, as it signifies her perpetuity.