Enid Blyton and the post-colonial world

Amy Rosenberg in The National:

ScreenHunter_02 Dec. 19 16.50 And then I began to notice that other Indian novelists I met and read about, and writers from other former British colonies (and from Japan, France, Germany, Holland and, of course, Britain itself) also talked often about Blyton, and that they underwent similar transformations whenever they did. They displayed intense nostalgia, as if they’d actually visited the worlds Blyton had created, and they knew they could never return. I heard them saying that, more than any other writer, Blyton had exposed them to the pleasures of fiction. For many, she opened up the English language, saturating the dry lessons learnt in school. She brought them inside an idealised world, the world of the former conquerors; in a funny kind of reversal, that world seemed as exotic as it did quixotic. Kids owned their own islands, ate Christmas goose for dinner, slept outdoors in fields of heather and explored moors and gorse and rocky shores. For a kid, especially a lower-middle class kid, from Calcutta, Delhi or smaller urban centres in India or other parts of the former empire, how could you get more exotic than that?

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