Is Rosemary Sutcliff’s Beric a Briton?

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Is Beric a Briton?: the Representation of Cultural Identity in G.A. Henty’s Beric the Briton (1893) and Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Outcast (1955) is an academic article by Rachel Johnson from 2009. (In: Past Continuous: Historical Fiction for Children, Newcastle University. , October 2009, Newcastle University). There is a copy of the article here. The Abstract summarises the thesis:

This article is an investigation into differences in the representation of cultural identity represented in Beric the Britain by G.A. Henty (1893) and The Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff (1955). G.A. Henty (1824-1902) and Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-1992) both present narratives of Britain under Roman invasion through the character of a young protagonist, initially perceived in both narratives as the product of a British tribal chieftain’s family with a clear cultural identity. Henty wrote in the second half of the nineteenth century at the height of imperial expansion when the sense of English cultural identity was strong. In contrast, Rosemary Sutcliff, writing post-empire, represents a more complex sense of identity. I investigate the mixed cultural identity of Sutcliff’s protagonist against the foundation of the exclusively British cultural identity of Henty’s Beric, thus foregrounding the increasing destabilization of cultural identity demonstrated in these two texts.

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