Ingmar Greil links a Welt article about the bowdlerization of Enid Blyton books, which at least in the German-speaking world is not commonly known of (I think I must have missed the news myself too). The occasion for the new reports is a biography of Blyton that has just been published.
bq. In England ist soeben ein Fall von Political Correctness im literarischen Bereich ruchbar geworden, der sich eigentlich schon vor wenigen Jahren zugetragen hat, aber erst jetzt an die breite Öffentlichkeit geraten ist. Es geht um einen Klassiker der Jugendbuchliteratur, Enid Blyton, deren Texte zum Opfer der Sanierfreudigkeit der Nachbesserer geworden sind.
Ingmar enquires whether copyright law cannot protect against this. It seems the copyright holders, Blyton’s heirs, sold the copyright (you can do that under English law but not German).
There’s a discussion in the Guardian Culture Vulture blog, which says that after all there is nothing to prevent someone publishing the originals too – but would the copyright holders not object?
I always disliked Blyton, but not on account of the racism. Something about the tone and the presumption that one would be interested in these boring characters, as far as I remember. The renaming of Dick and Fanny I suspect is for American sensibilities. The Guardian blog:
bq. Inhabited by anarchic golliwogs, thieving gypsies and slaphappy schoolmistresses, it’s hardly surprising that the desire to keep her stories in circulation has been tempered by an effort to adjust them for modern sensibilities. Even Blyton’s contemporaries thought the same (the publisher Macmillan once rejected a manuscript for its “unattractive … old-fashioned xenophobia”).