Enid Blyton (1897 – 1968) was an author of books for children. She was born in London, the daughter of a cutlery salesman, although her father later left home, after she had gained two brothers. She did not have a close relationship with her mother.
Enid Blyton was the head girl at school and subsequently trained to be a teacher. In 1922 she had a book of poetry published, followed by two other books in 1924. Also in 1924, Blyton married for the first time, to an editor named Hugh Pollock. Blyton’s middle name was Mary and was known by some people as Mary Pollock. Blyton and Pollock had two children, Gillian (1931 – 2007) and Imogen (born 1935). The marriage was in trouble by 1939 and Blyton had several affairs. In 1943 Blyton re-married, to a doctor called Darrell Waters, and they remained married until the latter’s death in 1967. Blyton subsequently developed Alzheimer’s Disease and died in a nursing home in November of the following year, where she had moved three months previously. She was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium.
A book was written by Blyton’s daughter, Imogen, which portrayed her childhood as rather negative, and Blyton as arrogant and unstable, although these suggestions were denied by Gillian.
Enid Blyton wrote around 800 books during her life, with many of them being part of a series. A list of her more popular work is below.
- The Five Find-Outers – 15 books published between 1943 – 61.
- The Famous Five – 21 books published between 1942 – 62.
- The Adventure Series - 8 books published between 1944 – 55.
- Noddy – 24 books published between 1949 – 63.
- The Secret Seven – 15 books published between 1949 – 63.
- Malory Towers – 6 books published between 1946 – 51.
- St. Clare’s – 6 books published between 1941 – 5.
- The Faraway Tree – 4 books published between 1939 – 51.
- Mistletoe Farm – 2 books published in 1948 and 1950.
- The Naughtiest Girl – 4 books published between 1940 – 52.
Many of Blyton’s books are still widely available today, although some of the language they contain has had to be edited as a result of changes in meaning since they were written. Other changes include, in some of her school stories, punishments have been changed to reflect current times.
Overall, more than 600 million copies of Blyton’s books have been sold, and they have also been translated into over 90 different languages. Even today, over one million copies of the Famous Five books are sold each year, highlighting the continuing success of her work with each new generation.