Friday, November 11, 2016

Malory Towers revisited

After all the excitement of last week and writing up all the adventures on Monday I'm writing what in some ways is a continuation piece from a 2011 entry of mine that kind of gives you an idea of just how long I've been blogging.
When I wrote way back in more or less exactly five years ago about Malory Towers, the  six part series of novels by Enid Blyton, I remarked about a couple of things I had noticed since originally encountering them in childhood.
One was about the illustrations which I feel is relevant not least in the Country I presently reside in because for a school based series, you see, you may well have personally even worn, the uniforms many schools have so have a mental image of what a school boy or in this case a school girl generally looks like. The tendency for cartoonish illustrations in particular used on the  first decade of this centuries editions of this series  particularly made them look cheap and detached them from their era.
I'd never of bought them as a child cos I wanted something that looked presentable and clearly hooked me into the story.
I saw the paperbacks with those images and bought at the time a nicer looking set of softbacks from 2004 that served me well until something else came very much to light.
Like with a good number of her books, the text had been altered with no clear indication and so I did pick up a 1987 omnibus edition of the first four novels published by W H Smith but printed by Methuen Children's books under license.

I didn't actually realize Dean's who were an imprint of Methuen's  did a complete  set in the form of two hard back books until very recently and given these were from the early 1990's was a bit concerned about those troublesome alterations and updates.
The first volume not so imaginatively titled Malory Towers came out in 1991, a year later than the separate six volumes issued in their Rewards series with more modernish but generally tasteful front covers.
I did check the text over as in the first novel, First Term at Malory Towers, there are clear references both to Darrel's behaviour that are toned down in modern editions and the threat to spank with a hairbrush common enough when first published but removed completely in newer editions. That was big shock I found moving to the 2004 set to that incomplete omnibus late 80's edition because it does alter the feel of those schoolgirls in a boarding school, like I was, and makes the adults responses more understandable.
This 1991 set surprisingly uses the same text as if they had used the same typesetting as that and had carried it over to the 1990 Rewards too and keeps a good number of the original black and white illustrated plates by Jenny Chapple.

While the cover looks slightly too contemporary to my eyes, the advantage of having the second volume over the 1987 is in part less weight for having just three novel per volume compared to four and again it uses a less modern so-called politically correct text.
My suspicion are that actually these three in one omnibus editions and the 1990 separate ones are just repackaged editions of the versions Methuen  had out during the 1980's with newer covers for sale by certain book sellers who specialized in discounted hardback books aimed at adults buying for children.
 Now that is the original hardback dust jacket from Third Year at Malory Towers which I feel sums up the feel of playing sports together at an all girls school wearing era specific uniform.
While to be honest I'd sooner they had used front covers more in that style for these two three in one omnibus editions, they do make for a good way to get relatively recent pre-political correct text versions often been found for just a few pounds each in good condition.
They do match my St Clares and The Naughtiest Girl Dean's omnibus editions being from the same era with their vanilla coloured spines.
I was very glad to spot these just before I went away.
Original entry: Malory Towers

No comments:

Post a Comment