Raymond H. Thompson (Author) interviewed Rosemary Sutcliff for the periodical Avalon to Camelot in 1986. In the introduction he wrote:
Though perhaps best known for historical novels set in Roman Britain, such as The Eagle of the Ninth (1954), Rosemary Sutcliff has written some of the finest contemporary recreations of the Arthurian story. She introduces us to Arthur in The Lantern Bearers (1959), a book for younger readers that won the Carnegie Medal, and in Sword at Sunset (1963) she continues his tale in his own words. She has also retold the Arthurian legend with clarity and elegance in Tristan and Iseult (1971), The Light Beyond the Forest (1979), The Sword and the Circle (1981), and The Road to Camlann (1981). Her later novels were set in the more recent past, but she returned to Dark Age Britain for her … novel The Shining Company (London: Bodley Head), which is based upon the Gododdin. This poem, composed about 600 A.D. in North Britain by the bard Aneirin to commemorate a band of British warriors who fell in battle against the Angles, is of special interest in that it provides us with the earliest mention of Arthur’s name and Sutcliff’s novel preserves the Arthurian echoes.
Source: Interview with Rosemary Sutcliff | Robbins Library Digital Projects.
Over at the Facebook page for Rosemary Sutcliff readers have been robust about the error of The Booktrust’s ways in excluding Rosemary Sutcliff from their attempt to list the 100 best children’s books of the last 100 years. I asked for help in compiling a broadside.
I’m not sure this will help, but the books I enjoyed when I was 11 still engage me at 63! I’ve never felt that Rosemary Sutcliff writes for children alone. There’s probably no more poignant tale than The Lantern Bearers. Also, she has a talent for dialogue in an historical context which is unsurpassed. Most children’s authors have nothing remotely like it. (Roy Marshall)
Rosemary Sutcliff’s books last in the mind and heart. I am 63 now and they stand out as Beacons from my childhood. I have reread many in mid and later life and they are even better. I am with Roy, The Lantern Bearers is my favourite – so evocative and of our own end times too. (Rob Patterson)
Rosemary Sutcliff’s Roman books, starting with the Eagle of the Ninth (but I read all the others – The Mark of the Horse Lord was probably the one that really inspired me), were one of the influences that led me to study archaeology.
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I love the cover page of the Japanese edition of Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Light Beyond the Forest. Intriguingly, of course, to this British reader, the cover is ‘at the back’ of the book. Not at all what Japanese lovers of the books of Rosemary Sutcliff in their own language would think.
Japanese cover The Light Beyond the Forest.
Rosemary Sutcliff was interviewed by Raymond H Thompson (in 1986) for a series of interviews with Arthurian authors. She spoke of her research, and the influences which led her to her own version of the Arthurian legend in the best-selling Sword at Sunset, first published in 1963.
… I did not discover the historical side of Arthurian legend until I was eighteen or nineteen, when I read two intriguing books by some absolute crackpot called Dayrel Reid: inspired crackpots are very special when you find them. One was called The Battle for Britain in the Fifth Century; the other was called The Rise of Wessex. They dealt with the Dark Ages, but particularly with the Arthurian legend and with the possibilities of an historical Arthur. I was fascinated by this idea, and I set off looking for all the other clues that I could find. Read More »
Found by Google alert this morning, this despairing question related to a Rosemary Sutcliff Arthurian novel which itself made me despair about modern education. “I’m researching for my critical literary reasearch paper over (sic) The Light Beyond the Forest by Rosemary Sutcliff. I’ve used search engines such as Google and I can’t seem to find anything useful. The reviews I do find require payment to view the whole article. I’m sure there is information out there or I wouldn’t have been assigned this book. (My italics). I just need some help finding it.”
This is what education-as-schooling has reduced students to – Read More »