Susan Cooper wins Edwards Award | Did she read Rosemary Sutcliff?

Author: Anthony Lawton

Chair, Sussex Dolphin, family company which looks after the work of eminent children’s & historical fiction author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-92). Formerly CEO, chair & trustee of various charity, cultural & educational enterprises in UK.

4 thoughts on “Susan Cooper wins Edwards Award | Did she read Rosemary Sutcliff?”

  1. Keep posting before I’ve finished :)

    I don’t think we can underestimate the effect of living with war as children on authors like Cooper and Sutcliff. The imagery of light/good and dark/evil seen in their work are clearly metaphors for this experience (Tolkien ‘s work was also much influenced by both the rise of evil in the growth of the Nazi movement and the subsequent war). War is particularly disempowering and confusing for children, and it’s not surprising that both Cooper and Sutcliff turned for inspiration to the heroic Arthurian archetype mentioned by Sutcliff in Anthony’s earlier post, and that their work gives young people an empowering role in combating the forces of darkness.

    http://rosemarysutcliff.com/2012/01/22/does-the-arthurian-legend-hold-essential-truth-for-difficult-times-yes-said-rosemary-sutcliff-in-1991/

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  2. Cooper’s drew upon Arthurian legend and Celtic and Norse mythology for her “Dark is Rising” sequence. “The series was written between 1965-1977, so contemporary with the work of authors like Rosemary Sutcliff and Alan Garner who also drew on Celtic mythology for inspiration.

    The battle between light and dark which is central to the “Dark is Rising” series is certainly also central to Rosemary Sutcliff’s work. Like Sutcliff, Cooper was profoundly influenced by her experiences as a child during World War II and by the concept of universal heroic myth as proposed by Joseph Campbell in his “Hero With a Thousand Faces”.

    Tolkien was a major inspiration for Cooper, and though It’s a long time since I read them, I remember the feel of Cooper’s novels being much more Tolkien in style than Sutcliff. I would say rather than Cooper being influenced by Sutcliff, that they were both shaped by similiar reading tastes and experiences.

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