Whenever I start work on a new collection, I like to begin by familiarising myself with the author or illustrator in question, and their work. Generally, this involves some background reading on their lives and their careers, and pulling together as complete a list as possible of their published works. Like many people, I was an avid fan of Enid Blyton’s books when I was growing up, particularly her Malory Towers series. I dreamed of playing lacrosse, despite having absolutely no idea what lacrosse was, and of enjoying illicit midnight feasts in the dorm. Having devoured Malory Towers several times, as well as quite a few Famous Fives and Secret Sevens, I thought I was reasonably familiar with Blyton’s books.
How wrong I was! I had absolutely no idea she had written so many books – after a week of grappling with her bibliography, I have a 36 page document which is still not a fully comprehensive list of her published works. Every time I think the end is in sight, I discover more. I am feeling quite overwhelmed by all the fairies, and goblins, and mice, and rabbits, and toys, and woods, and farms, and families, and dogs, and adventures, and tales! Whatever else may be said of her, Enid Blyton certainly worked extremely hard.
I have made extensive use of the Enid Blyton Society’s immensely detailed and useful Cave of Books in compiling and checking my bibliography, and have come to a great appreciation for the effort which society members have put into their database of Blyton works. Although my bibliography still has some gaps, I now have enough of a picture of her career to put the material we have acquired into context. So the next task is to create a full list of the collection, going through it file by file and establishing exactly what we’ve got. Can’t wait to get started!