Rosemary Sutcliff, eminent author of children’s literature, prided herself on not writing down for children

Rosemary Sutcliff carefully creates dialogue in her novels that recollects the speech of a bygone era without falling into what she termed “gadzookery.”

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature has an entry on historical novelist and writer of literature for children, Rosemary Sutcliff. It comments on her use of language:
Critics of Sutcliff’s work sometimes comment on its difficulty both in terms of the language she employs and in terms of the historical depth her novels embrace. But for Sutcliff herself, these sorts of evaluations of her writing were welcomed as compliments. She prided herself on never writing down to her readers, expecting them instead to be enticed into enjoying a compelling and demanding tale by the pageantry of history and the warm humanity of people in every era. She carefully creates dialogue in her novels that recollects the speech of a bygone era without falling into what she termed “gadzookery.”
  • Source: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature. Ed. Jack Zipes. Oxford University Press, 2006.

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.

2 thoughts on “Rosemary Sutcliff, eminent author of children’s literature, prided herself on not writing down for children”

  1. Even as a young reader, she appealed to me for this reason. She never went over the top to gain attention or create an extravagant story, and she didn’t shy away from the harsher aspects of life, in fact, she seems to embrace them.

    The history is fantastic and I know so much of British history because of Sutcliff.

    Like

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