Rosemary Sutcliff Black Ships Before Troy | Classical Studies and Ancient Greece

Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novels, including The Eagle of the Ninth (now a film/movie) and The Lantern Bearers, are classics of both children’s literature and historical fiction. Some novels, like The Flowers of Adonis, and some retellings such as Black Ships Before Troy are set in Ancient Greece. But according to one book review:

“Children’s literature does not feature much in classical studies, as classicists tend not to distinguish between literature written for children and literature that children happen to read’.

Nonetheless, classics plays a large part in children’s education from the Greek myths read in the primary school to the historical study of the Greek and Roman world, as well as beginners’ language courses”

The review is of a collection of articles in Christopher Stray (ed.), Remaking the classics: literature, genre and media in Britain 1800-2000. (London:  Duckworth, 2007). The chapter by Deborah Roberts examines  Rosemary Sutcliff’s fiction, especially The Eagle of the Ninth, in relation to Rosemary’s inspiration, Rudyard Kipling, whose Puck of Pook’s Hill includes chapters which contain episodes from Roman Britain. Her chapter  reflects

” … his conflicted view of identity and politics in Sutcliff’s writing for the implied child reader of post-war Britain.”

Source: Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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