(Last Updated: 23 August 2010)
The history of both adult and juvenile literature is sprinkled liberally with numerous instances of book series being continued by other authors after the death of the original author. Sometimes, as in the case of the Babar or Thomas the Tank Engine series, it may be one of the author’s own children or another member of the family who carries it on. Or perhaps, as with the Bulldog Drummond series, it might be a close friend of the original writer. Oftentimes however, book series are continued on by an author or authors who had little if anything to do with that series’ original creator. A good example of this in adult literature is the James Bond series. The famous secret agent was created by Ian Fleming, who wrote the first 14 books in the series. But after he died, the James Bond canon was added to by a variety of different authors such as Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson (who also wrote two Bulldog Drummond books) and Sebastian Faulks. In children’s literature, I can name, among others, the Three Investigators series, which was created by Robert Arthur, who wrote the first nine books in the series, and the 11th as well. But upon his death, various other authors continued the series until it was cancelled after the 43rd volume.
However, the continuation of book series after an author’s demise is not limited to the language in which the series was originally created. To return to the example of The Three Investigators, the series has continued on in Germany long after it stopped being written in English. There are now more German Three Investigators books (i.e., books written originally in German) than there are English ones!
A similar situation has occurred with some of the series created by Enid Blyton. These series were often just as popular in translation as they were in their original language. They have been highly successful in many European countries, including France and Germany. In France, series such as the Famous Five (called Le Club des Cinq in French) and the Secret Seven (known as Le Clan des Sept in French) were published by the Bibliothèque Rose (literally, Pink Library), a division of French publishing giant Hachette. The “Club des Cinq” and “Clan des Sept” series sold well, so when Enid Blyton passed away, the Bibliothèque Rose were worried that sales might suffer if there were no new stories. They wanted to keep a good thing going, and so they commissioned a lady named Claude Voilier (about whom you can read more in the Who’s Who section) to pick up where Blyton had left off and continue the Famous Five series on in French. They also hired Evelyne Lallemand to write additional Secret Seven stories. Throughout the 1970s and early part of the 1980s, Voilier wrote an additional 24 Famous Five adventures (so more than the 21 Blyton had written originally!), while Lallemand contributed 12 new Secret Seven books.
Adding to the original Blyton canon has not been restricted to France, however. In Germany, the same country that has added so much to the Three Investigators series, new stories have been written in two of Enid Blyton’s famous school series, Malory Towers and St. Clares. And in recent years, new Famous Five books have been created as well. Since 2004, there have been 19 new Famous Five stories published in Germany, all written by Sarah Bosse. Two more are due out soon.
Some of these new stories have been translated into English and published, but many haven’t. The purpose of this site is to provide comprehensive coverage of these foreign works featuring Enid Blyton characters but not written by Enid Blyton. Translated and non-translated books alike will be featured. But English continuation novels such as The Naughtiest Girl books by Anne Digby will also be included. While there are many sites that deal with the works of Enid Blyton herself, there are really none that I know of that provide detailed information about Blyton continuation novels written after her death. So this site will fill that void.
I myself am a translator, and would love to add to the Famous Five and Secret Seven books that have already been translated into English. Indeed, I have translated a Claude Voilier Famous Five book that has never before been published in English. So this will comprise another key aspect of the site.
If you explore all that this site has to offer, you should come away with a greatly enhanced knowledge of the many continuation novels, both in English and foreign languages, written after Enid Blyton’s death, and I hope that it will also instil a greater awareness and appreciation of literary translation as a whole.