As a child, I used to love reading and had lots of different books, from Enid Blyton to Roald Dahl.
It’s always the way though, that you end up discarding some much loved books or they get misplaced over the years, so I’ve recently started to re-buy some of the old ones I had as a child.
It’s great to read about the midnight feasts at Malory Towers, with the lashings of ginger beer, and strange concoctions they used to put together such as sardines and peaches and giggle round the moonlit pool while the teachers all snore away in their rooms.
Or go on a magic journey to the top of the Faraway tree, with Silky, MoonFace and the Saucepan Man.
There’d always be a different land at the top of the tree each time they went up. Some nice, some not so nice.
The one thing I have noticed on re-visiting these old books though, is that when buying them, you have to be careful that you are getting one of the original books that haven’t been tampered with over the years and re-written.
Yes – some, in their infinite wisdom and need to be all politically correct, have changed stories around, edited them and changed names.
So instead of the little girl being called Fanny, she’s now called Frannie.
Dame Slap, who was one of the less desirable characters from one of the Lands at the top of the tree, got her name for slapping children in her care.
In the modern re-prints, she’s known as Dame Snap who just raises her voice and has rather a nasty shout.
I mean, come on.
I don’t agree with changing books in order to come over all politically correct and ‘with the times.’ Yes, some aspects of the stories are sexist (Anne from the Famous Five being told that she couldn’t chase adventures as she was a girl, so had to stay home and make tea for them all instead), or nods towards corporal punishment in the form of Dame Slap.
Why should it be changed though? It might have some outdated ideas in there, but that’s the way the world was when they were written.
I don’t want to read sanitized, cleaned up politically correct versions, thank you very much.
I used to read lots of Enid Blyton when small, and I haven’t turned into a racist, sexist corporal punishment lover as a result.
Leave the books alone for future generations, as it’s a peek into past times.
Should we airbrush history?
What do you think?