The Island of Adventure – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 11

I managed to get through three chapters again this week, this time 22, 23 and 24. Only five more to go, now! The rest of the series is here, in posts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten.

My copy of the book is an 8th impression from 1955 (it was my mum’s before it was mine) and the modern copy I’m comparing it to is a Macmillan one from 2001 (one I borrowed from Stef).


Again the wireless set is now called a radio, and then the wireless is referred to as the set. 

They’ve cut a sentence from where Philip fiddled with the wireless too. Originally it reads He twiddled one or two knobs. Music came from the wireless when he twiddled one knob. A Morse code came from it when he twiddled another one. In the updated version the middle sentence is cut for no apparent reason.

Also, his dialogue after that is then altered. He originally asks Y2 Do you want to leave a message for Bill? as he speaks to him over the wireless. This has become Do you want me to leave a message for Bill? It’s a completely pointless change as it doesn’t make the meaning any clearer.

Lastly they continue the trend of doing away with hyphens and stock-still becomes stockstill (which my spell checker does not like).


Going on the past few chapters it seems the editor’s goals have changed from removing all traces of queer to simply reducing the number of times it occurs. It’s in this chapter three times – the first time it gets removed and the queer little tower room becomes just the little tower room, but when looking at the queer old map or one queer map it’s left alone.

A line gets cut from this chapter too, from when Bill goes to sit by the window after Philip has gone to bed. He lit a cigarette and thought for a long time is missing – I suppose our hero can’t smoke in case he passes on his bad habit to the readers.


There were four queers in this chapter, and the editors left one – in queer phosphorescent lights. Queer lights became strange lights though, in a queer place became peculiar and rather queer is now rather odd.

The reddish rocks in the secret passage are corrected to greenish, so far that’s been entirely consistent at least.

The biggest changes are made to the paragraph when Bill and Philip are to go down the well. The girls were not to go has become The girls did not go (even though at this point no-one has gone). The first line does sound like it could have been an order that they were not to go, but it doesn’t actually say that Bill or Philip forbade them. After that they are no longer terrified of going (though Dinah says it would be beastlier to go down than stay behind) as indeed, the thought of going down the steep, cold well-shaft with only insecure staples for a foot- and hand-hold was terrifying to both of them becomes a much milder and less interesting indeed, neither of them like the thought of going down the steep, cold well-shaft with only insecure staples for a foot- and hand-hold.

The editor seems to have woken up a little for these chapters and we’ve got 5 unique changes. That doesn’t seem like a lot compared to some chapters but considering two of them were lines completely cut out and two were sentences completely re-written then it’s a fair bit. If I was counting every word that was altered I’d be here all day. And of course there are plenty of alterations I don’t count at the end as they’ve been made numerous times already.

Anyway, we’re at 110 changes now. (And about 100 too many?)


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1 Response to The Island of Adventure – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 11

  1. Francis says:

    I agree, Fiona, 100 changes too many – give someone power over Enid’s prose and this is what happens. Thanks for your work which is much appreciated.


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