125 Earliest and Consecutive Issues
A Notable Large Collection
Serialised Pre-Book Novels
In Original Wrappers
London: Evan Brother, Limited, March 1953 – January 1958. Substantial archive of Enid Blyton’s Magazine, comprising 125 consecutive issues beginning with the very first, No. 1 Vol.1 dated 18 March 1953, a most impressive collection amounting to 78 percent of the entire published run. In original orange and white illustrated wrappers, titles and publication dates to front, containing author’s preface and the ads. Each issue measures approximately 14 x 21 cm. Some wear to wrappers and edges, the first six issues reinforced at spine with vintage adhesive tape, otherwise in very good condition, internally clean and bright. Collections of this kind are seldom found in such abundance, nor in an unbroken consecutive run as is the present lot.
The magazine began in March 1953, producing 162 issues until Blyton’s failing health caused its closure in September 1959. The present lot contains the first 125 issues, each consecutive number being present, starting with the very first issue of the magazine, and running until the 2nd issue of the 6th year of publication, No. 2, Vol. 6, dated “January 15th – 28th 1958”.
As well as being in some cases the “Only Edition,” and others the “First Edition” of several of her works, Enid Blyton’s Magazine issues are particularly collectible for their original illustrations, generally unique only to the serialised stories and being modified for subsequent publishing of the books.
Pre-dating their publication in book format, the serialised novels contain the original illustrations. For the magazine, the artists drew 1-2 illustrations per chapter plus a repeated motif for the title. When the novel was to be published, the artists then drew fresh illustrations, often being reworked versions of what had appeared in the magazine. Some of the artists engaged by the magazine include Eileen Soper, Grace Lodge, Hilda McGavin, Sylvia I Venus, among others. In the case of the various serialised Famous Five books, none of Eileen Soper’s illustrations would be used in the books.
Of course, illustrations were far more numerable in the magazines than the books. Unlike Sunny Stories, many were printed in two colours, normally red and black, though green and blue were also used for a short period.
Blyton is best remembered today for her series titled “Noddy”, “Famous Five”, and “Secret Seven.” The pre-book serialised versions are represented in this lot. For example, from the Famous Five series which would be published the following year in book form, we find “Five on a Secret Trail” – Chapter 1 titled “George is a Rather Difficult” beginning on page 26 of No. 14, Vol. 3 dated July 1955, and Chapter 8 titled “All Together Again” beginning on page 26 of Issue No. 22, Vol. 3 dated November 1955, and so on.
“Noddy and Tricky Bear – A Noddy Strip Book” is a most elusive title today, in book form published in 1957, and in the first edition being a strip serial which is contained in the present magazine issues beginning March 16, 1955, at page 24 of Issue No. 6, Vol. 3.
It is also noteworthy that Blyton was a most prolific writer and there are a large number of stories which were never republished. as such, the magazines are the “Only Editions” of these charming serialised children’s novels.
The numbering system for the series is somewhat unique, as follows:
“No. –” represents a bi-weekly issue within a “Volume.”
“Vol. –” represents the annual chronology of the publication.
[For example, Vol. 1 comprises all issues published in 1953, the first year of the work; Vol. 2 comprises all issues from 1954, so forth.]
Enid Mary Blyton (1897-1968) was an English children’s writer whose books have been among the world’s best-sellers since the 1930s and remain enormously popular, having been translated into 90 languages.
In 1920 Blyton began writing in her spare time. The following year she won the Saturday Westminster Review writing competition with her essay “On the Popular Fallacy that to the Pure All Things are Pure.” Her first book, Child Whispers, a 24-page collection of poems, was published in 1922. Blyton cemented her reputation as a children’s writer when in 1926 she took over the editing of Sunny Stories, a magazine that typically included the re-telling of legends, myths, stories and other articles for children. She worked in a wide range of fictional genres, from fairy tales to animal, nature, detective, mystery, and circus stories, but she often “blurred the boundaries” in her books, and encompassed a range of genres even in her short stories.
During the 1940s Blyton became a prolific author, her success enhanced by her “marketing, publicity and branding that was far ahead of its time.” With subscription cards and the like, she was creating loyalty among her young audience. Other brilliant marketing strategies designed to create continued patronage are seen in these magazines.
In 1953 she parted company from George Newnes Ltd. and Sunny Stories to launch “Enid Blyton’s Magazine” with Evans Brothers. Blyton wanted to advertise her own books, jigsaws, toys and games, as seen in the present issues. Newnes were only prepared to advertise the books that they themselves published.
Not skipping a beat, the popular and prolific writer began producing the magazine only a few short weeks after her final issue of Sunny Stories. In her preface to the 1953 issues, having retired as author of Sunny Stories, she writes, “… it will now be the only magazine that I write for you.” The front cover header to the 1953 issues in “Best Stories for All Children.” Perhaps her audience still looked for her work in the George Newes publication, as we note that in 1954 she changed the header to state her new affiliation, “The Only Magazine I write.”
A prolific writer of children’s books and magazines, as well as newspaper contributions, Blyton’s work became increasingly controversial among literary critics, teachers and parents from the 1950s onwards,particularly the Noddy series. Her books have been criticised as being elitist, sexist, racist, xenophobic and at odds with the more liberal environment emerging in post-war Britain. The BBC refused to broadcast some of her works from the 1930s until the 1950s; these consequently being banned by some libraries and schools. In spite of all the controversy, her works have continued to be best-sellers since her death in 1968.