Wood-shore or woodshore or ‘wood shore’ | A Rosemary Sutcliff phrase?

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A blog entry elsewhere reminded me of one of the many evocative phrases Rosemary Sutcliff used in her work: ‘wood-shore’. I thought, like Tom Bradman, that it was in Warrior Scarlet. But in fact it appears (?also) in the Lantern Bearers (“Take him out to the wood-shore and bind him to a tree”) and searching Google immediately reveals it, presented as ‘woodshore’, in several places in the paperback OUP edition of The Eagle of the Ninth .

3 comments

  1. That’s very interesting! I was just looking up the word, thinking it was common and then discovered that it seems to have been invented by Rosemary Sutcliff. I thought “that can’t be right, I definitely read it in that Robin Hood book … oh, wait … ”

    You should do a post on “Na! Sa ha!” at some point; that’s the most annoying thing about Sutcliff’s novels in my opinion. But na, I still like them.

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  2. Earlier mention of “The Witch’s Brat” reminded me that it’s one of RS’s books I’d never read, so I thought I’d rectify that. Just a few pages in I was tickled to come across this piece “(Lovel made} like a wild thing for the cover of the trees; and fell at last, full-length, on the woodshore where the Wealden Forest ended in a scrub of hazel and elder and bramble at the edge of the cultivated land.”

    It strikes me that Lovel bears some resemblance to Gwalchmai in “Sword at Sunset”, another crippled young healer with a monastic connection. RS did like to recycle people, places and names- it was one of the ways she established a sense of continuity in her stories.

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  3. You’ve mentioned blogger Zornhau and his Live Journal blog before, but I don’t know if you’ve noticed his post about re-reading “Eagle of the Ninth” himself. What really caught my eye was this topical phrase, “I doubt the terms “woodshore” and “mizzle” pepper Young Adult fiction of the 21st century”, given that both words have come up here recently :) (“Woodshore”, I think must have been a Sutcliff original – OED doesn’t list it, anyway.)

    My Eagle of the Ninth
    http://zornhau.livejournal.com/196980.html

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