Alkibiades, the hero of Rosemary Sutcliff’s novel The Flowers of Adonis, was one of the more enigmatic figures of Greek history. When this historical novel ‘for adults’ was published in 1969 by Hodder and Stoughton (costing 35 shillings in old money), Rosemary was inteviewed by The Times newspaper (Oct 27, 1969).
I was trained at art school, but then the desire to scribble came over me. I got my interest in history from my mother who had a sort of minstrel’s, rather than historian’s knowledge. Inaccurate, but full of colourful legend. I disliked history at school ….
… They do say that to be a successful children’s writer one has to have a large lump of unlived childhood in one. I certainly think I have that.
You have to show children that good does overcome evil, but that does not necessarily mean that the old lady you helped then pays for your ballet lessons! The satisfaction should just be coming from the fact that you have done right.
… It is easier to give a book a historical setting, because children will take things happening then rather than right on their own doorsteps now.
Source: The Times, Oct 27, 1969, p6.
Rosemary Sutcliff children’s book and story A Crown of Wild Olive (The Truce of the Games) tells the story of the Olympics.In fact, it is the newer title of a book originally published as The Truce of the Games. The tale is of two athletes from different ways of life who discover the meaning of friendship as they compete against each other in the ancient Olympic games. A Crown of Wild Olive was published in the collection Heather, Oak, and Olive (1972).
Rosemary Sutcliff‘s The Flower of Adonis reviewed in The Times of London in 1969 (before it was behind an electronic paywall!).Read More »
Twenty-two years ago today, in an article about putting right the wrongs attributed to historically famous figures, Sarah Jane Evans wrote about how Rosemary Sutcliff and Alcibiades (in The Flower of Adonis) once helped her as an undergraduate student of Classics.
Rosemary Sutcliff once got me out of a tight spot. Read More »
Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novels, including The Eagle of the Ninth (now a film/movie) and The Lantern Bearers, are classics of both children’s literature and historical fiction. Some novels, like The Flowers of Adonis, and some retellings such as Black Ships Before Troy are set in Ancient Greece. But according to one book review:
“Children’s literature does not feature much in classical studies, as classicists tend not to distinguish between literature written for children and literature that children happen to read’.Read More »