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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 16:05

Very Happy


Never such innocence again - as Philip Larkin said. Even little Year 7 kids would giggle over that one these days.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 16:45

And saying, "This lesson we're going to read Trawler Boy Dick, 7S1", would have them hysterical. It would take a good half hour to calm them down.


Last edited by Temperance on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 19:16; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Didn't close my inverted commas - hanging offence.)
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 16:57

Ah but the true sign of the times is when I typed into Google Images,"Geoffrey Prout book title Scouts in Bondage" ... and it came back with a message saying that many of the images I had requested were blocked from public viewing because of EU legislation and censorship laws concerning illegal and indecent material.

Shocked
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 03:59

What a shame, MM!

It's not just children who giggle madly at these things.  One day when my son and dil, well into their 30s were here, I happened to mention to my husband that there was an email from Nicola Topliss at the council.  They cackled about that for ages.  I had never noticed anything funny about her name before.  Don't suppose I read it out loud even to myself usually.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 09:58

I once had a friend - soon discarded - who heard double entendre in all most everything she heard then to repeat with cackling laughter and nudge-nudge. Tiresome and like being back inour co-ed school where it was a spotty boy complaint that one ignored.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 10:51

I remember my husband guffawing loudly over a very silly magazine called Viz which, alas, he purchased regularly for a while. Really puerile stuff that was very popular with naughty little boys of all ages, spotty or no, in the late 80s. Some found it all very offensive, if I remember correctly. Have no idea if the publication is still going - these things go out of fashion very quickly. One section featured a dreadful character named Finbarr Saunders and His Double Entendres.

Children/teenagers do seem far more aware these days of things we had never heard of. However (I've told this story before, but never mind), I do remember an incident in a Latin class when I was about 14 or 15: we were given a ridiculous sentence to translate. It was "Come into the garden, Maud." There was a mini-dictionary at the back of our Latin grammar books which gave Maud as "Lesbia". Half the class fell about laughing, the other half - which included me - looked confused. Mind you, I was trying to remember whether into the garden needed the ablative or the accusative - or was it actually motion toward (see Brian's lesson). Would "Veni ad hortum, Lesbia" have the sense of "Head for the garden, Maud", rather than "Come into the garden, Maud"? Still don't know.

EDIT: Not even an eleven-year-old would be confused by "Lesbia" these days - and most would not find the name remotely funny - which, it could be argued, is no bad thing.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 13:20

Interestingly the French have no word for double entendres ... and they have scant knowledge of puns either (which most French people starchily call les homonymes, although in French a true play-on-words pun is actually, un calembour).

I pun a lot in French ... and it always goes down like a lead ballon. Alas no joke, however clever and witty, is ever successful if one has to explain it!. I once had a guest staying who was a training to be a chef, he said he was working to perfect his sauces and liked the idea of magically creating things in the kitchen, like a wizard, or like searching for a hidden secret. I made an incredibly witty (at least to me) comment about sauciers (sauce-makers), sorcières (sorcerers) and sourciers (water diviners searching for a spring/source) ... only to met by uncomprehending silence. "But they all sound alike", I explained feebly.

Then another guest, a tubby little man, drew himself up to his full pompous height and explained, like Humpty Dumpty - or rather perhaps, 'Un petit d'un petit', that in French a word only means what it is intended to mean, neither more nor less. The words I had used are all pronounced very slightly differently, because they are different words meaning different things. And that, he concluded, was why French was such a perfect language, because there was no chance of any misunderstanding.

In contrast I think that puns, double entendres and all the other forms of word play are part and parcel of what makes English so enjoyable and apt for experimentation. Whole swathes of Chaucer, Shakespeare, DH Lawrence, James Joyce, Victorian vaudeville, smutty seaside post cards, and BBC comedy from 'The Goons' and 'Round the Horn', to Mrs Slocumbe and her pussy, all rely on the flexibility of English!

And 'umpty was wrong ... true puns do exist in French, for example this charming, slightly smutty, arboreal ditty:

"Je connaissais un petit mec, il est être (hêtre=beech) toujours plein de charme (charme=hornbeam) et fort comme une chaine (chêne=oak), mais quand il a fini son boulot (bouleau=birch ) il était un peut plier (peuplier=poplar)."

"I know a little chap, he's always full of charm and strong like a chain, but when he had finished his job, he gets a little limp" (literally bent over).


f'nurr, f'nurr, snigger ... as Viz's Finbar Saunders would chortle to himself.


Last edited by Meles meles on Sat 29 Aug 2015, 17:43; edited 10 times in total (Reason for editing : french accents, and the past imperfect of connaître, oh and spellings, punctuation, tense and case.)
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 13:27

I'll tell you one thing about French  - what I learned from school text books isn't a bit like BBC 4 French film programmes. Without subtitles I'd be lost.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Thu 08 Oct 2015, 13:10

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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Thu 08 Oct 2015, 20:03

Triceratops,

and yet this about the Zwarte Piet with whom we are grown up. Now a racist connotation. Till now not yet a row fully implemented in Belgium. But it comes...already it became political as in Antwerp...the defence of our traditions against all those leftist and american rooted "foreigners"...
http://www.ibtimes.com/black-pete-racist-zwarte-piet-controversy-leads-90-arrests-netherlands-1724362
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/12/05/4-reasons-to-reject-the-racist-dutch-tradition-of-zwarte-piet/


Kind regards, Paul.

PS: And then I forgot the row about the Tintin album "Tintin in Congo" from my childhood compagnion Hergé.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 11 Oct 2015, 09:50

Paul, the original point of this thread was to highlight values and wisdoms we as children might have learnt from the literature designed for us but which were not necessarily those intended by the author. Your mention of revised attitudes towards racism and Tintin in the same post is therefore very apposite indeed.

As a child reading Tintin there was much in the stories that jarred my juvenile sensitivities, not so much the stereotypical caricatures (which are often pointed to these days as crude proofs of Hergé's and his intended readers' innate racism) but more probably in those narrative elements that depended completely on basic racist assumptions to make sense as important parts of the plots. I should point out that these reservations did not impede my enjoyment of the stories - one simply acknowledged these elements as part of the writer's style and got on with immersing oneself in the fun of the rest of it. As a contrast, this would have coincided with my initial exposure to that other great Belgian cartoon export, Asterix. This was not immune to racial stereotyping either, but somehow much more forgiveable since the level of caricature in Uderzo's drawings was so much more intense and universally applied anyway. Hergé's real fault might have been his closer to life caricature style and setting his stories in what was his contemporary world. Tintin did not have to travel just to the old Belgian Congo for this fault to express itself (though I can see why this would be a focus for debate in Belgium) - practically every Tintin story contains cringeworthy representations of races and people "foreign" to our little reporter friend.

But nevertheless, if invited to remember instances of racism in literature from my childhood reading it is Tintin who will register in my reminiscences long before Asterix would ever pop up, even though Asterix stories when you think about them rely almost completely on a mild xenophobia on the part of the reader to engage with the characters and get the humour.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 11 Oct 2015, 13:28

As a child reading Tintin there was much in the stories that jarred my juvenile sensitivities,

In my case what should have jarred, but I don't think really did, was class. I, like my daughter and granddaughter since, hoovered up all the boarding school tales be it Mallory Towers, The Chalet School or Greyfriars. Heaven help me, I even enjoyed The Abbey Girls series and nothing could have been further from the experience of a wee girl up a Glasgow close. There was one I particularly remember involving a young woman (I can't quite recall all the details) who was a musician from 'humble origins' - she had gone to Manchester Trades' Hall to concerts but only in the cheap seats! - and married a conductor. They decided to buy a seaside bungalow so they could play house for holidays and where they wouldn't even need a maid!.




It may have been that I considered these stories as almost akin to fairy tales set in some imaginary or at least distant and foreign place and accepted it all as such but on the other hand close to my home were two private schools so I was aware of their being something different available to other children even if I wasn't entirely conscious of its implications.

I know I hankered after the midnight feasts and adventures of those girls (so did my daughter and I bring it up occasionally to embarrass her) but the somehow the whole idea of the possible unhappiness of being sent away to school never dawned until I graduated to more realistic fiction. 'Jane Eyre' and the like then took over.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 11 Oct 2015, 13:42

That example serves my original point very well, thanks ferval.

We also consumed all these series (my sister was the conduit in our house), as well as Jennings, Greyfriars etc, and like yourselves our own domestic situation could not have been further removed from the social class of the characters and all that meant in terms of their behaviour, their expectations, their aspirations and their lifestyles when compared to our own.

Yet when we acquired a more mature and more informed appreciation of what in reality these schools actually represented, and not to mention the living hell they often represented to some of their actual inmates, it wasn't then as revelatory as it might have been since we were simply then learning to adjust our concept of a landscape with which we felt ourselves already familiar thanks to having devoured all this literature earlier. So, dire and all as many of these stories may have been, they still provided an essential educational role in our understanding of the world to which we were ultimately heading as adults.

My sister still attends Chalet School reunions. For the participants they are really fun, nostalgic, exciting (they take place around Europe) and popular occasions with a high attendance of people from really diverse walks of life. What is noticeable however is the almost complete absence of public school girls.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 11 Oct 2015, 22:58

@nordmann wrote:
Paul, the original point of this thread was to highlight values and wisdoms we as children might have learnt from the literature designed for us but which were not necessarily those intended by the author. Your mention of revised attitudes towards racism and Tintin in the same post is therefore very apposite indeed.

As a child reading Tintin there was much in the stories that jarred my juvenile sensitivities, not so much the stereotypical caricatures (which are often pointed to these days as crude proofs of Hergé's and his intended readers' innate racism) but more probably in those narrative elements that depended completely on basic racist assumptions to make sense as important parts of the plots. I should point out that these reservations did not impede my enjoyment of the stories - one simply acknowledged these elements as part of the writer's style and got on with immersing oneself in the fun of the rest of it. As a contrast, this would have coincided with my initial exposure to that other great Belgian cartoon export, Asterix. This was not immune to racial stereotyping either, but somehow much more forgiveable since the level of caricature in Uderzo's drawings was so much more intense and universally applied anyway. Hergé's real fault might have been his closer to life caricature style and setting his stories in what was his contemporary world. Tintin did not have to travel just to the old Belgian Congo for this fault to express itself (though I can see why this would be a focus for debate in Belgium) - practically every Tintin story contains cringeworthy representations of races and people "foreign" to our little reporter friend.

But nevertheless, if invited to remember instances of racism in literature from my childhood reading it is Tintin who will register in my reminiscences long before Asterix would ever pop up, even though Asterix stories when you think about them rely almost completely on a mild xenophobia on the part of the reader to engage with the characters and get the humour.

 Nordmann,

thanks for your reply. I only from time to time jump in a thread that already is going on for years and sparked by your comments I read now for the first ime the whole thread for "penitence" (I hope the word has the same connotation in English as in Dutch/French) for two hours. I have to say, reading your contributions as those from Priscilla, Temperance, Meles meles, Ferval, your lot have a pretty high level of discussing...
And yes this subject came already on the surface in the period of 14, 16 November 2013.

I had a lot to say about the subject and wanted to elaborate about Hergé and Tintin, but nearing midnight overhere it will be for tomorrow...
I wanted also on a question of Priscilla years ago on the old BBC board expand in a new thread about the "feelings" of the "autochtones" versus "other" people with other behaviour, religion (in the wider sense also Communism), culture (as the men/women status in society)...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 11 Oct 2015, 23:06

Paul wrote:
I had a lot to say about the subject and wanted to elaborate about Hergé and Tintin, but nearing midnight overhere it will be for tomorrow...

Great, I look forward to a Belgian take on Hergé and his wee reporter. The last time I was there he was still very much a local hero. I really hope the PC brigade haven't done him posthumously down in the meantime!

PS: I found this Paul - evidence that Hergé himself tackled early complaints about the Congo adventure and attempted to keep the story alive without inadvertently offending people further. Here Tintin switches in a later edition from teaching "the natives" to look up to all things Belgian to teaching the Congo students mathematics. When modern critics pour scorn and contempt on the book in question it is actually the revised one that they are having banned from shops and libraries. I wonder if they actually know just how offensive it once really was?

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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Fri 16 Oct 2015, 18:55

@ferval wrote:
As a child reading Tintin there was much in the stories that jarred my juvenile sensitivities,

In my case what should have jarred, but I don't think really did, was class. I, like my daughter and granddaughter since, hoovered up all the boarding school tales be it Mallory Towers, The Chalet School or Greyfriars. Heaven help me, I even enjoyed The Abbey Girls series and nothing could have been further from the experience of a wee girl up a Glasgow close. There was one I particularly remember involving a young woman (I can't quite recall all the details) who was a musician from 'humble origins' - she had gone to Manchester Trades' Hall to concerts but only in the cheap seats! - and married a conductor. They decided to buy a seaside bungalow so they could play house for holidays and where they wouldn't even need a maid!.




It may have been that I considered these stories as almost akin to fairy tales set in some imaginary or at least distant and foreign place and accepted it all as such but on the other hand close to my home were two private schools so I was aware of their being something different available to other children even if I wasn't entirely conscious of its implications.

I know I hankered after the midnight feasts and adventures of those girls (so did my daughter and I bring it up occasionally to embarrass her) but the somehow the whole idea of the possible unhappiness of being sent away to school never dawned until I graduated to more realistic fiction. 'Jane Eyre' and the like then took over.

Did you ever read any of Angela Brazil's books, Ferval? When I was in first year of my secondary school there were a few of them in the class library so I read them. I didn't realise that some of them dated from circa the First World War (though the present time may be further than the early 1960s when I read these works than the early 1960s were from the time Angela Brazil wrote her novels).  At one time I worked with a lady whose husband changed jobs a lot (always for something better) and because they moved around the country a lot they decided to send their younger son to boarding school to give him some consistency in his education (i.e. so he wasn't forever changing schools and having to make new friends).  He was expecting it to be like Jennings and his fond mama had not disenchanted him...mind you my school had some boarders (I was a day girl) and one of them did sneak out to get chicken and chips for everyone at the local chippy for a midnight feast.  I suppose Jane Eyre was a boarder too, Ferval, though I hope to heck any of our surviving boarding schools aren't like the awful one Jane attended.

If Temperance reads this, as a slight aside, I was typing something today and the dictator (who was a professional person) dictated a plural word (can't remember but I'll give 'dog' as a for instance) as 'd-o-g apostrophe s'.  I typed what the person said and put "(sic)" after it.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Fri 23 Oct 2015, 20:53

@nordmann wrote:
Paul wrote:
I had a lot to say about the subject and wanted to elaborate about Hergé and Tintin, but nearing midnight overhere it will be for tomorrow...

Great, I look forward to a Belgian take on Hergé and his wee reporter. The last time I was there he was still very much a local hero. I really hope the PC brigade haven't done him posthumously down in the meantime!

PS: I found this Paul - evidence that Hergé himself tackled early complaints about the Congo adventure and attempted to keep the story alive without inadvertently offending people further. Here Tintin switches in a later edition from teaching "the natives" to look up to all things Belgian to teaching the Congo students mathematics. When modern critics pour scorn and contempt on the book in question it is actually the revised one that they are having banned from shops and libraries. I wonder if they actually know just how offensive it once really was?



Yes Nordmann I checked my copy of Tintin in Congo and it is already the revised one of 1946.
But weren't that no "normal" attitudes in 1931?
I better start a new thread aobut colonial attitudes of the Thirties and their nowadays perception, also the difference in culture between the "natives" of some (I have to pay attention on my terminology!) land not been in contact with the modern 19th/20th  century society.

I will first give my links to elaborate further tomorrow:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintin_in_the_Congo
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintin_in_the_Land_of_the_Soviets
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Mix
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTCn3jyZ4wM




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stagecoach_(1939_film)


http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Scramble-Africa-Thomas-Pakenham/dp/0349104492
http://joelswagman.blogspot.be/2011/06/scramble-for-africa-18761912-by-thomas.html
https://goo.gl/mokSHr


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sat 24 Oct 2015, 22:26

Just starting with Tintin in Congo and reading the Wikipedia that I provided I remembered that I read a biography of him which in my memory was excellent and exhaustive...
Did some research and found it back I suppose even in English as the translation of the book that I read in French:
http://www.amazon.com/Herge-The-Man-Created-Tintin/dp/0199837279#reader_0199837279

And deviated by this research I found this interview with Hergé in 1971: It is in French and Dutch and is perhaps only interesting for those who understands French as a Nordmann, but I give it nevertheless:



But this one is with English subtitles and I will look at it for the rest of the evening as it shows very promising about the character and the background of Georges Rémy (Hergé)


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 25 Oct 2015, 10:10

An interesting documentary, Paul. Thanks for the links.

It was interesting to see Hergé himself explain his own progression from Tin Tin to Haddock in terms of which character most represented his own as time went on. Even as a child reading the stories I remember noticing how Haddock became more and more the prime motivator behind each adventure and its resolution, the Tin Tin character being at the same time increasingly just a rather priggish do-gooder whose own efforts, however brave and noble, would never be enough to resolve any dilemma in which they found themselves. I had not realised how much intentionally had been invested by Hergé of himself into this transfer, and this interview explains why as well.

I had instinctively preferred the Haddock-driven storylines, even when originally reading them (I assume completely out of sequence). The one-dimensional Tin Tin had never been a satisfactory hero type on which to hang a story in my naive view at the time. Now that I understand just what that dimension was and how it had been imposed on the character I can only compliment my younger self on instinctively distrusting it.

The drawings however were really what drew me in and kept me coming back. The attention to detail (also explored in the documentary) was something I always enjoyed tremendously.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 25 Oct 2015, 21:17

Nordmann,

"The drawings however were really what drew me in and kept me coming back. The attention to detail (also explored in the documentary) was something I always enjoyed tremendously."

Yes the clear line, although the other renowned artist who contributed to the weekly Tintin were also good.
http://lejournaldetintin.free.fr/affiche.php?action=recueil&asso=5&numero=26&menu=1&menu_id=13
I recognize still the ones of 1955...
It was always with great expectations that I looked Sunday morning in the local library if there was not a copy of one of the Kuifje (Tintin) adventures available as they were nearly always hired seen the huge interest in these books.
And when there was an exemplary that I had not read yet I was really tremendously enjoyed...the big format more than quarto and hard covers...
http://www.2dehands.be/boeken-strips/stripboeken/kuifje/album-tintin-les-cigares-249907286.html
Yes the drawings and the clear line...
There was also at the local library the same format and also I suppose from Casterman an equivalent with nearly the same drawings about the Jesus of the New Testament...the same hardcover and drawings but perhaps better colours...a fortnight ago I did research for it and as I found nearly every old edition of Casterman back not this one as collectors aren't perhaps interested anymore in this religious stuff...?
But nevertheless I looked at this as we called it "gewijde geschiedenis" (holy history) with great interest too, although we knew the stories already in depth from the nunschool on. But this books were in the same style as the Tintin books and nearly could have been draw by Hergé himself and it was therefore that I was so eager to see the drawings and enjoyed even the plot...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 25 Oct 2015, 21:39

Nordmann,

"An interesting documentary, Paul. Thanks for the links.
It was interesting to see Hergé himself explain his own progression from Tin Tin to Haddock in terms of which character most represented his own as time went on. Even as a child reading the stories I remember noticing how Haddock became more and more the prime motivator behind each adventure and its resolution, the Tin Tin character being at the same time increasingly just a rather priggish do-gooder whose own efforts, however brave and noble, would never be enough to resolve any dilemma in which they found themselves. I had not realised how much intentionally had been invested by Hergé of himself into this transfer, and this interview explains why as well."

I had already read years ago the biography that I mentioned overhere and was at that moment also moved by the life of Hergé. It was nearly as a "part" of "me". As I was grown up in the Fifties with the fresh remembering of my parents of the Thirties and the Forties and my own experiences and mentalities of the Fifties I so well understood the difficulties of the personality of Hergé and now with this new documentary I was again deeply moved as the mentality of a given word is a given word and once you have to break it your person is shaken as you are nearly programmed by your education to do otherwise and the stress of an attitude to be perfectionist can indeed lead to a nervous breakdown...and I can understand that he once freed from all that and with his new Fanny had another life than before...yes Hergé a person I fully can empathise with...as he is so "human" and so close to my experience of that particular "time"

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 07:43

You have reminded me of something that struck me once after years of wondering about it.

I had noticed that certain of my values (for want of a better word) in adulthood smacked more than coincidentally with what one might expect from a rather puritan upbringing - either as adopted values or as emphatic reactions against same, and often found I could strike up a mutual affinity with certain people who genuinely came from such a background, which I of course did not. This perplexed me, given my actual upbringing in what might be termed a rather agnostic domestic situation and a rather rabid Catholic milieu outside my door.

And then I remembered DC Thomson & Co Ltd and the reams of product from that noble house I had devoured throughout my childhood (including amongst other things the Jesus story presented to under 10s in one year's Christmas Sparky Book for Boys and Girls, gory crucifixion and everything). The simple morality tales of Keyhole Kate, Pansy Potter, Peter Piper et al were as instructively formative in my childhood years as any parable or Confucian fable could ever have been.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 10:29

I suppose that one thing we all learned was at least the potential for children to be autonomous active agents in their and other people's lives and in the world. On reflection it seems that in the best and most popular books parents are either conveniently dead, Dickens, Harry P., Tracy Beaker etc, absent as in all the boarding school stories (today the children's home is a popular substitute) or who were by today's standards distinctly hands-off in their parenting styles as in Blyton. The modern variant on that last one is the inadequate, possibly addicted or just carelessly incompetent parent. I can't think of a book where the plot was resolved satisfactorily by the active intervention of mum or dad. In fact grandparents or aunts and uncles figure much more as positive influences - apart from the Abanazar and his ilk.

The one thing that appears to be almost entirely absent from all these books is what has been promoted as the 'ideal family' - two caring and involved parents and a close and supportive situation where everyone is open and honest and shares all their issues and feelings and so on and so........

Lord, what a lousy book that would make!
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 11:27

@nordmann wrote:
Re Tintin ... The drawings however were really what drew me in and kept me coming back. The attention to detail (also explored in the documentary) was something I always enjoyed tremendously.

If you liked the detail in Tintin you should look out for the Blake & Mortimer series, originally created by Edgar P Jacobs in 1958. Jacobs was another Belgian although his main characters, Professor Philip Mortimer and Captain Francis Blake (of MI5), are both resolutely British.



The adventures, especially the earlier ones, sometimes include aspects of futuristic space travel, alien invasion, time warps  and of course a classic evil mastermind continually bent on world domination ... but at heart they are action spy thrillers. The style is always meticulously accurate to location and time ... like here: The Strand, London, June 1958 (they're on their way to the offices of The Daily Mail).



The stories are sometimes set against real events and include real figures  ... like here where King Baudouin I opens the 1958 Brussels World Fair (with the Atomium in the background) and Blake and Mortimer in the audience having just successfully thwarted the evil Colonel Olrik's attempt to blow the whole thing up:



As in Belgium, bandes dessinée (cartoon strip books) are very popular in France. And they're a great way to learn French, although one does tend to pick up a vocabulary with an unusual emphasis on nouns like submarine, spy, radio-transmitter, machine gun, anti-tank missile etc. Though it can work the other way too ... I was slightly bemused this summer when a couple of boys staying here with their French parents kept saying, in English, "God Save the Queen!", until I traced it to a Blake & Mortimer book they were reading in which Brenda makes a brief regal appearance.


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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 12:37

A Tintin original artwork from 1939 has sold at auction in Paris for £1.1 million;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-34638679
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 12:49

This is the British Cartoon Archive at the University of Kent. Contains cartoons from heavyweight political issues to Andy Capp;

https://www.cartoons.ac.uk/
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 13:00

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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 13:03

Cartoons and drawings from Eagle


http://www.dandare.org/eagle_index.html

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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 13:11

Only been able to find the cover illustrations:

http://www.bookpalace.com/UKComics/LookandLearn/index.htm


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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 13:21

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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 13:46

(Crossed with Trike but I'm sure you all understand) ...

... And similar to the 'Blake and Mortimer' books, both in artistic detail and in story style, were the 1960/70s Lefanc series by Jacques Martin (Belgian again). For example here at the end of 'Le Mystère Borg', we're clearly in St Mark's Square, Venice:



And Paul, you mentioned a biblical/historical series ... so do you also remember the Alix books? They too were drawn by Jacques Martin and published by Casterman, and were based on the adventures of "Alix" a Greek slave living in Rome at the time of Julius Caesar (he eventually gains his freedom). Again with meticulous draughtsmanship, generally hisorically accurate, and a great way to be lured into learning about ancient history.



From the same Casterman publishing house I also remember an entire 'History of France', comic-strip style, some 20 volumes or so all beautifully drawn and made exciting to read .... A great way to learn history in my opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 14:59

I still do this;

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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 15:14

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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Wed 28 Oct 2015, 20:29

@Meles meles wrote:
(Crossed with Trike but I'm sure you all understand) ...

... And similar to the 'Blake and Mortimer' books, both in artistic detail and in story style, were the 1960/70s Lefanc series by Jacques Martin (Belgian again). For example here at the end of 'Le Mystère Borg', we're clearly in St Mark's Square, Venice:



And Paul, you mentioned a biblical/historical series ... so do you also remember the Alix books? They too were drawn by Jacques Martin and published by Casterman, and were based on the adventures of "Alix" a Greek slave living in Rome at the time of Julius Caesar (he eventually gains his freedom). Again with meticulous draughtsmanship, generally hisorically accurate, and a great way to be lured into learning about ancient history.



From the same Casterman publishing house I also remember an entire 'History of France', comic-strip style, some 20 volumes or so all beautifully drawn and made exciting to read .... A great way to learn history in my opinion.


Meles meles,

yes Blake and Mortimer I guess because it appeared in the Tintin magazine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blake_and_Mortimer

No, I don't know for what reason I didn't follow Alix
...Apart from the Tintin magazine it were Buck Danny and Lucky Luke... and perhaps Lefranc aussi, but not sure anymore

And we were spoiled in Belgium by excellent strip artists...we had l'embarras du choix with such a wide panoply of artists in the time. And yes from 10 years old I was a reading freak, all kind of novels for grown ups also, in such a way that I got nearly addicted, sometimes 4 novels a week at the end and that was not going too well with my studies...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Wed 28 Oct 2015, 20:36

@Triceratops wrote:
Remember these?

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/films/

 
Triceratops thank you very much for this link and also this one: https://www.cartoons.ac.uk/

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Wed 28 Oct 2015, 21:34

Paul, I would have to say that what I learnt from reading Belgian (and French) cartoon stories as a youngster was in the main that humour most definitely is a regional thing. Asterix is the great exception, but then credit for his success in English has to be shared partly with that great translator, Anthea Bell.

It is still a constant source of amazement to me that Asterix simply cannot be sold in the USA, despite many attempts to launch it there. They even tried once assigning their own translators and including as many American allusions as the texts would allow, but still no go. But then I recall many years ago being in an airport lounge in the States with a motley assortment of fellow travellers, almost all American but with two English lads in the crowd. They and I were delighted when, from the sole source of entertainment in the lounge, a TV showing a Public Service channel, there wafted the unmistakeable first strains of the theme tune to Fawlty Towers. There then ensued a rather weird 25 minutes or so in which I and my British comrades laughed uproariously throughout while about fifty completely baffled (but too polite to intervene) Americans simply stood open mouthed watching us watching the TV, occasionally glancing up to attempt to deduce what on earth had afflicted us so but failing miserably with each attempt. In the end one of them voiced loudly that he reckoned we were drunk and this drew a wave of nodding muttered agreements from the rest of the lounge (with much sad shaking of heads and looks of pure concern for our health thrown in). Of course this only got us going even more. The bartender eventually decided there was simply too much inexplicable merriment going on in his vicinity and promptly switched off the TV (almost a sacrilegious act in the USA), "for our own good", he said.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Thu 29 Oct 2015, 19:54

@nordmann wrote:
Paul, I would have to say that what I learnt from reading Belgian (and French) cartoon stories as a youngster was in the main that humour most definitely is a regional thing. Asterix is the great exception, but then credit for his success in English has to be shared partly with that great translator, Anthea Bell.

It is still a constant source of amazement to me that Asterix simply cannot be sold in the USA, despite many attempts to launch it there. They even tried once assigning their own translators and including as many American allusions as the texts would allow, but still no go. But then I recall many years ago being in an airport lounge in the States with a motley assortment of fellow travellers, almost all American but with two English lads in the crowd. They and I were delighted when, from the sole source of entertainment in the lounge, a TV showing a Public Service channel, there wafted the unmistakeable first strains of the theme tune to Fawlty Towers. There then ensued a rather weird 25 minutes or so in which I and my British comrades laughed uproariously throughout while about fifty completely baffled (but too polite to intervene) Americans simply stood open mouthed watching us watching the TV, occasionally glancing up to attempt to deduce what on earth had afflicted us so but failing miserably with each attempt. In the end one of them voiced loudly that he reckoned we were drunk and this drew a wave of nodding muttered agreements from the rest of the lounge (with much sad shaking of heads and looks of pure concern for our health thrown in). Of course this only got us going even more. The bartender eventually decided there was simply too much inexplicable merriment going on in his vicinity and promptly switched off the TV (almost a sacrilegious act in the USA), "for our own good", he said.


Yes, Nordmann, those British and especially the English have such an easy laugh. At least that was what a Scottish lady told to me at Iverness in the late Sixties and she was married to an inhabitant of Rome...I have it only from that one opinion and it could be bias either...I like the humour were you have to think before you start to laugh...yes perhaps the English (British, Scots included and Irish, even the Irish Republic, oops and I forgot Minette's Wales) way

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Fri 30 Oct 2015, 09:48

It's funny you should say that, Paul (funny odd, not funny ha-ha) since the conventional view in Britain is quite the opposite and it is the Europeans (sic) who, they say, prefer blatant humour and or the absolutely ludicrous.

But I learnt long ago not to generalise about national "senses of humour", and in fact I found from living abroad that regardless of which type of humour could be said to predominate in any culture I was always drawn to the one which bucked the trend ayway, regardless of what that might be in any one environment. So at least from my own experience I reckon a sense of humour is a particularly personal thing.

The problem in the USA might well be its innate variety of cultures, though I would have reckoned Asterix should at least have made it to New England and Louisiana Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Mon 09 Nov 2015, 11:09

The manufacturer's claimed this was safe, though buying some of these materials nowadays would probably get you on a terrorist watchlist;




http://gombessa.tripod.com/scienceleadstheway/id4.html
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Mon 09 Nov 2015, 11:43

We've talked a lot about Ladybird books and laughed at the spoofs on line - now there's the real thing.












Yes, these are Ladybird for grown-ups, available for about a fiver at your local bookstore.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Mon 09 Nov 2015, 11:47

Easing this all back to something at least resembling literature, Trike's post reminded me of this (and apologies if it's been said before). In the days before Trivial Pursuit, and when robots and magicians actually worked, this was where we learnt much of the really useful knowledge that school had omitted to impart to us (such as who was the "real" first president of the USA and in what British colony are children still not expected to live beyond the age of three?).



Such things just were not available in Dublin at the time, presumably because they smacked of the dark arts in which at that time the Catholic church held a local monopoly - our ones (we had several versions) all came from that epicentre of education and fun, Glasgow (connected with an annual visit from an auntie there).

Ah, I see Glasgow has already contributed a literary post in the meantime. See what I mean?

Edit: Just found this guy - sometimes called the Wizard of Oz and sometimes just "The Wizard" (we had both). Like our version the poor wizard has lost his little plastic pointer (suggestively affixed somewhere around his penis area). We tried putting a matchstick in its place but then he started getting all the answers wrong. A pin was even more disastrous at it became magnified itself and then he would only answer anything that pointed to magnetic north.

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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Mon 09 Nov 2015, 12:39

Oh, oh, oh, I had one of those but with a wizard wearing a pointy hat. My wizard bent his wee stick so that sometimes caused disputes.

Did your Glasgow gifts come from Wylie and Lochheads in Buchanan St or Lewis's? W&H was posher but both were wonderlands at Christmas, both now gone.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Mon 09 Nov 2015, 13:31

The 5th floor in Lewis's - it was one of our places of pilgrimage on return visits. Actually there were only two such visits, B+I's axing of the Glasgow route put the kybosh on Hiberno-Caledonian relations (for us, in every sense), especially when all our favourite Hiberno-Caledonian brethren in that peculiarly Irish part of the British part of the Ireland part of Britain decided Larne was out of bounds for Dubliners around the same time.



My mother, I remember, refused to cross the threshold. She'd had a bad experience as a youthful employee in the Liverpool branch - something involving water pistols and salary docking (we never got the full story). So it was up all the elevators with the whole string of us holding hands in age order from 10 downwards while we followed the "strange woman" (our auntie) who spoke in absolutely unintelligible squawks that only slightly resembled human speech so could not be trusted to guide us in the manner to which we were accustomed. I am only slightly better at deciphering the Glasgow accent now.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 22 Nov 2015, 13:07

Here's a piece of subliminal education - again from Enid Blyton - that would have completely passed me by if it hadn't been pointed out by Dr Joan Ransley, honorary lecturer in human nutrition at the University of Leeds. It is now 73 years since Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog embarked on their first Famous Five adventure, doing so in 1942 at the height of a war and with all the deprivations this entails, a fact which was seemingly lost on the children in the story but which the author knew would not at all be lost on her young readers.

Ransley has analysed the diet enjoyed by the four human members of the junior detective group, not just in the first story but throughout their adventures, over half of which were written during a time of food rationing and austerity. We may laugh at the copious amounts of ginger beer and sandwiches they consumed, but in fact Blyton was apparently very careful not only in selecting dietary elements of the children's meals but also in presenting them in an attractive manner.

The first story featured a main meal of "cold ham, salad, bacon and eggs, plums and a ginger cake" which, in 1942, might have been stretching it a bit regarding comparison to her readers' expectations, but subsequent stories saw a rationalisation by the author of what represented a meal which those same readers might realistically recognise. During their "Caravan" adventure for example, the Five encountered a meal thus described; "A large ham sat on the table, and there were crusty loaves of new bread. Crisp lettuces, dewy and cool, and red radishes were side by side in a big glass dish, great slabs of butter and jugs of creamy milk". The ham has reappeared, but aside from this expensive ingredient the rest represent elements of a basic diet common at the time, attractively presented to her young audience.

Chocolate did not appear in any story until the post-war years (much as it also did not reappear to her readers until the same period) and then was only consumed as a very rare treat. Humbugs and toffee likewise crept into the narrations but always as something very special eaten as supplements to what otherwise was a very balanced diet - composed using a healthy mix of items to be found across the five main food categories; fruit and vegetable, meat and fish, dairy, starchy foods, and high fat/sugar foods. All of these were consumed within a very structured eating pattern with meals strictly regimented between breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner times.

Unlike other contemporary children's authors Blyton rarely strayed from presenting this basic and balanced diet as the most desirable alternative (only the amounts on offer would have differed from the ration-dictated reality as existed at the time). And perhaps even more importantly her meals were always occasions for social interchange - the Five used them most typically to exchange news, pool information and plan strategies in their sleuthing escapades, a function of mealtimes modern children might also well find hard to relate to from their own personal experience and which is lamentable in its passing (the sociability, I mean, not necessarily the sleuthing).



She was also a great believer in thick flannel starched pyjamas and nightgowns. But then no one's perfect. I'm getting itchy just thinking about it.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 22 Nov 2015, 14:13

"A large ham sat on the table, ..., great slabs of butter and jugs of creamy milk".

Hmmm, quite a lot of ration coupons used up there. The weekly rations  per person were (1945):
ham and bacon: 4 oz
butter: 2 oz
margerine: 4 oz
.... so that ham probably had to last them at least a week. Unless of course the farmer and his wife were keeping illegal unlicensed pigs!
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 22 Nov 2015, 14:39

A woman who could write an entire world war out of existence could add a few pounds of ham to a meal, one would think.

However even your allowances as cited above would probably have startled her new readers reading that description in 1946/7. By the time Five Go Off In a Caravan was published late in 1946 ham had already been further slashed to a mere 3 ounces and bread, which throughout the war had not been rationed at all, found itself now subject to a draconian ration of just two loaves a week (the "Shiver with Shinwell, and Starve with Strachey" regime). With Blyton it was probably a case of either presenting reality and having kids on the verge of malnutrition running around the place or alternatively simply never referring to the word "ration" at all.

At least they weren't scoffing jam tarts, pies and pastries, as a certain Billy Bunter persisted in doing throughout the years of privation.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 22 Nov 2015, 14:51

Food in Enid Blyton books was indeed fascinating. I learnt a lot about the English class system from reading about who ate what and how food was prepared and by whom it was offered. I was always very impressed as a child by the presence of a mysterious person called "Cook" who supplied the meals in the average Blyton child's home. Why didn't we have a "Cook", I wondered? We weren't exactly poor - I knew that -  but then again, I wasn't like a proper Enid Blyton character, no matter how hard I pretended to be. I wouldn't have fitted in at Malory Towers, even had I won a scholarship there, and had been provided with a "tuck-box" ( I actually typed "tick-box"- there's a Freudian slip if ever there was one), but surely it couldn't be that I was - dreadful thought - of the same class as the hapless Ern in the Five Find-Outers and Dog books? Ern's grammar was bad and his family most definitely didn't have a Cook and he would never ask for an "ice" down at the village shop-cum-tearoom. I had also noted, you see, that the posh kids didn't eat ice-cream, but always had "ices".

Here's an account of a post-war tea which was "sent up" from the kitchen for the Five Find-Outers - surely not a typical meal in post-war Britain? Certainly wasn't like "tea" in our house.

"He (Pip) and Bets ran to the door and took in two large and well-loaded trays.'Thanks,' said Pip, eyeing the trays with approval. 'Gosh - what a wizard chocolate sponge.'

It was a very fine tea - hot, new-made scones, sweet and buttery, strawberry jam, bread and butter, potted salmon and shrimp paste, small ginger buns, shortbread biscuits, and of course, the large chocolate sponge, which had a thick cream filling.'
'I vote we march down in a body to the kitchen after tea and give three cheers,' said Larry..."


Extract is from The Mystery of the Strange Bundle,  by Enid Blyton, published in 1952.

Larry and Pip presumably are dead from heart attacks now, or are obese old men, battling with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

I remember the Comic Strip Presents doing their Five Go Mad on Mescalin. Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy, having fun on their hols as ever, wheel their bicycles down a track leading to a remote, rather run-down farmhouse. They are hungry.

"Good day, my man," says Master Julian to the bemused owner of the farm who is busy in the farmyard turning over a pile of manure. "We need some provisions. Do you have a large ham, some cheese, crusty bread, creamy butter, tomatoes and lettuce - oh, and of course some freshly-baked scones, jam, a large plum cake and lashings of ginger-beer?"

"F*ck off," was the irate yokel's response in 1984. "What do you think this is, bleedin' Harrods?"

How things can change in thirty years.
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Sun 22 Nov 2015, 20:10

Blyton was indeed inconsistent when judged across her different concurrent adventure series, I'll grant you that. The Secret Seven, for example, once made a whole adventure out of someone nicking their biscuits, chocolates and (in early 1950s England) orangeade, which they had stashed in their tree-house, no less! If those were the goodies available in their auxiliary quarters one can only imagine the full repast available to them back at their main base (Peter's family's shed).
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Thu 26 May 2016, 10:11

The Famous Five have been mimicked;



Enid Blyton for Adults
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Fri 27 May 2016, 13:51

@Temperance wrote:
Food in Enid Blyton books was indeed fascinating. I learnt a lot about the English class system from reading about who ate what and how food was prepared and by whom it was offered. I was always very impressed as a child by the presence of a mysterious person called "Cook" who supplied the meals in the average Blyton child's home. Why didn't we have a "Cook", I wondered? We weren't exactly poor - I knew that -  but then again, I wasn't like a proper Enid Blyton character, no matter how hard I pretended to be. I wouldn't have fitted in at Malory Towers, even had I won a scholarship there, and had been provided with a "tuck-box" ( I actually typed "tick-box"- there's a Freudian slip if ever there was one), but surely it couldn't be that I was - dreadful thought - of the same class as the hapless Ern in the Five Find-Outers and Dog books? Ern's grammar was bad and his family most definitely didn't have a Cook and he would never ask for an "ice" down at the village shop-cum-tearoom. I had also noted, you see, that the posh kids didn't eat ice-cream, but always had "ices".

Here's an account of a post-war tea which was "sent up" from the kitchen for the Five Find-Outers - surely not a typical meal in post-war Britain? Certainly wasn't like "tea" in our house.

"He (Pip) and Bets ran to the door and took in two large and well-loaded trays.'Thanks,' said Pip, eyeing the trays with approval. 'Gosh - what a wizard chocolate sponge.'

It was a very fine tea - hot, new-made scones, sweet and buttery, strawberry jam, bread and butter, potted salmon and shrimp paste, small ginger buns, shortbread biscuits, and of course, the large chocolate sponge, which had a thick cream filling.'
'I vote we march down in a body to the kitchen after tea and give three cheers,' said Larry..."


Extract is from The Mystery of the Strange Bundle,  by Enid Blyton, published in 1952.

Larry and Pip presumably are dead from heart attacks now, or are obese old men, battling with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

I remember the Comic Strip Presents doing their Five Go Mad on Mescalin. Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy, having fun on their hols as ever, wheel their bicycles down a track leading to a remote, rather run-down farmhouse. They are hungry.

"Good day, my man," says Master Julian to the bemused owner of the farm who is busy in the farmyard turning over a pile of manure. "We need some provisions. Do you have a large ham, some cheese, crusty bread, creamy butter, tomatoes and lettuce - oh, and of course some freshly-baked scones, jam, a large plum cake and lashings of ginger-beer?"

"F*ck off," was the irate yokel's response in 1984. "What do you think this is, bleedin' Harrods?"

How things can change in thirty years.
That's funny, Temperance (i.e. The Comic Strip Presents).  Outing myself as sometimes lowbrow Enid Blyton seems to write as much about food as George RR Martin (the writer of the A Song of Ice and Fire books which are the source material for the Game of Thrones TV programme.  I don't suppose many of us visiting Res His had a cook.  There are usually changes when books are adapted for drama versions but I was disappointed that in the (first) Disney version of Hundred and One Dalmations they excluded the sub-plot of Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler becoming a real cook and a real butler.

Thinking of Meles x 2's reference to bacon pigs.  A boyfriend from my younger days had relatives in the Cotswolds and apparently his mother's relatives were visited by the police during the war because they had referred to a "lodger" which turned out to be a side of bacon they had hanging somewhere indoors.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The things we learnt from children's literature ...   Mon 30 May 2016, 09:30

They've missed the boat with Enid Blyton, I feel. The humour only works for those old enough to remember the originals. Her stuff however has been corrected politically so many times and over so many years that there are now more than one generation of readers at this stage who must wonder why the hell she's even a target for such satire at all.
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