Modern Times are a Hindrance | Rosemary Sutcliff on Writing Historical Fiction

Sadly stuck behind their pay-wall are The Times Archives. In January 1983, within a long interview by Caroline Moorehead, Rosemary Sutcliff said of actually visiting battle sites:

“Modem times are a hindrance. The natural features of the land have been lost.”

Mind you, such research trips would anyway always have been a major project for her, given her severe physical disabilities. Some other quotes from Rosemary Sutcliff from the article are:

On writing her memoirs Blue Remembered Hills:

l happened to have a winter free. I was in between books. And being an only child, with far older cousins, who else is there to remember? And it was a happy childhood.

On periods of history she avoided:

I can’t get inside the medieval skin. I find the complete permeation of religious life too much for a free-thinker like myself, and beyond the eighteenth century is too cloak and dagger for my taste.

On when she wrote:

I hit that sudden post-war flowering of children’s literature and the golden age of –  the Oxford University Press.

On her rocking horse, Troubador:

About 15 years ago I decided that I was old enough, ugly enough, and successful enough, to indulge my eccentricities.

One of Rosemary Sutcliff's eccentricities | Her rocking horse Troubador
One of Rosemary Sutcliff’s eccentricities was supporting a rocking-horse maker (who went bust!)

One thought on “Modern Times are a Hindrance | Rosemary Sutcliff on Writing Historical Fiction

  1. Hi Anthony,

    Just to let you know, that many of the UK’s public libraries subscribe to the Times Digital Archive, thus making it available to their users – I can access it from home via my Hampshire Library Services card. Accordingly I have just read and very much enjoyed the article (I know I didn’t see it at the time), so thank you for posting this!

    (for American readers, I think some academic institutions also subscribe).


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