…and rewriting?

My last post stated plainly that Blyton’s drafts don’t evidence significant revisions, but this morning I began to wonder if I might have to revise that statement somewhat.  As I began to look in more detail at the typescripts for two of the books in her Adventure series, I noticed what appeared to be evidence of more substantial changes to the texts.  The typescript of The River of Adventure includes several pages which have corrections and revisions cut and pinned into position.  Quite literally a cut and paste job!  These revised pages become increasingly frequent towards the end of the draft.

As I carefully removed the rusty pins and peeked beneath the pinned blocks of text, I hoped these replacement passages would turn out to be radically different from those underneath.  So far, however, they have proved slightly misleading in that regard.  These cut and pinned revisions appear to simply be clean, retyped copies of the text underneath, incorporating some minor revisions made by hand.  Blyton was perhaps concerned that her manuscript annotations might prove confusing or unclear to her editor, and so tidied up the draft with the aid of scissors and pins.  Not quite the radical rewrites I might have hoped for, but there may be more waiting to be discovered!

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3 Responses to …and rewriting?

  1. Marjorie Shackleton says:

    I have been interested for years in the fact that Enid Blyton COULD type: I was born in 1942 and in my schooling years, only girls who were not expected to have any education beyond school were taught to type (this was in Australia). I regret it now, of course, because of our present dependence on computers. My undergraduate essays were hand written, and sometimes cut-and-pasted. The preferred system by our tutors was, of course, a final rewrite but they would accept less. It is puzzling, though, that EB would leave underneath her corrected version a TYPED earlier version. Was Australia (or Queensland) behind Britain in teaching typing skills? The only contemporaries of mine who used typewriters were (male) journalists and they used four or fewer fingers. Do we know if EB was a trained typist or a 4-finger one?

  2. Hi Marjorie, I’m afraid I have no idea when or where Enid Blyton learned to type, so I can’t help you there! But her typescripts certainly suggest an accomplished typist who didn’t make many basic typing errors. Although we don’t have any very early typescripts in our collection, so it may just be that she taught herself and improved over time. Can anyone else can shed any light on when or where Blyton might have learned to type?

  3. Anita Bensoussane says:

    According to Barbara Stoney’s biography of Enid Blyton, Enid’s first husband (Hugh Pollock) persuaded her to start using a typewriter from about 1927. Before that, she had submitted manuscripts in longhand to publishers. Apparently, Enid typed using only her forefingers.

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