In the introduction to her historical novel The Flowers of Adonis, Rosemary Sutcliff wrote:
I have provided a possible explanation for Antiochus’s insane foolhardiness when left in command of the Athenian Fleet, because Thucidides’s bald account is so unbelievable (unless one assumes that both Antiochus and Alkibiades were mentally defective) that any explanation seems more likely than none.
Alkibiades himself is an enigma. Even allowing that no man is all black and all white, few men can ever have been more wildly and magnificently piebald. Like another strange and contradictory character Sir Walter Raleigh, he casts a glamour that comes clean down the centuries, a dazzle of personal magnetism that makes it hard to see the man behind it. I have tried to see. I have tried to fit the pieces into a coherent whole; I don’t know whether I have been successful or not; but I do not think that I have anywhere falsified the portrait.
Posted in The Flowers of Adonis | 3 Comments »
Robin Rowland used to write a blog about his writing life (he was a TV journalist) called The Garret Tree. Some eight years ago he posted “When I waited for Rosemary Sutcliff”.
When I was a kid, Rosemary Sutcliff was my J. K. Rowling. In the early 1960s, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next Sutcliff. I lived in northern British Columbia and the waiting involved finding out when the book would arrive in the public library. In Kitimat, British Columbia, a town carved out of the bush, there were no bookstores. The local variety store and the stationary store both carried popular paperbacks delivered at the same time as magazines.
For me, Rosemary Sutcliff created a world just as magic as Rowling’s. Somewhat like Hogwarts and Harry it was an alternative British universe. Many of her books followed one scattered family for a millennium or more, through the history of Britain from the ancient Celts through the Roman conquest and occupation, the collapse of the empire, the Saxon invasion and into the Middle Ages. It was both familiar (especially since my parents were British) and Continue Reading »
Posted in Readers, The Eagle of the Ninth Book | Tagged military, slavery, writing | 1 Comment »
Born in Hull in 19222, John Bell – one time editor at OUP, who died aged 85 in 2008 – was instrumental in helping the career of Rosemary Sutcliff, as he was for leading post-war children’s authors such as William Mayne, Philippa Pearce and Rosemary Sutcliff.
He went to Oxford University, but while he was still an undergraduate World War II started. After the war ended, he returned to Oxford and graduated in 1948. He joined the children’s book team at Oxford University Press, based in London, and was responsible for Rosemary Sutcliff’s early books.
In 1956, he transferred to the publisher’s literary team. In the mid-80s, when he retired he set up a press of his own at his home cottage at Wootton-by-Woodstock – the Backwater Press . He published several little items from or for Rosemary Sutcliff.
Sources: Yorkshire Post, February 23, 2008; The Times (London), February 18, 2008.
Posted in Autobiography & Biography, Books and Stories | Leave a Comment »
I have recently found that a miniature painting by Rosemary Sutcliff that I was unaware of sold at Halls auctioneers in Shrewsbury in 2012. The Falconer is a watercolour on ivorine, signed and dated 1952. Rosemary was an expert miniaturist before she became a published author.
Posted in Sutcliff Discovery of the Day | 2 Comments »
CB editions, as it says of itself, publishes “short fiction, poetry, translations and other work which, as the Guardian noted, ‘might otherwise fall through the cracks between the big publishers’ “. CB, I assume, is taken from the initials of the one-person band that is the publishing house, and who I think writes the blog Sonofabook which I have just enjoyed discovering.
Late last month a list of forty books that CB read when eleven or twelve was posted. “I found it in a shoe box after my mother died in 2004. I’ve written here about this list before, but then I put it in a safe place and lost it; now I’ve found it again, disguised as a bookmark, so it gets another airing.”
Rosemary Sutcliff features, unfortunately but understandably for a eleven-or-so-year-old , spelt with an ‘E’; the book was listed as The Eagles of the Ninth (sic), a slight if significant rewording of the title (The Eagle of the Ninth, just one eagle!). Forty years on CB knows well the author and the title:
There are just two women writers on the list, Baroness Orczy and Rosemary Sutcliff. And only one book, I think, that was specifically written for children (Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth). ‘Young adults’ hadn’t yet been invented. Nor, of course, had PlayStations and Xboxes, which left a lot of time to fill.
The full list is:
Source: Sonofabook blog
Posted in Sutcliff Discovery of the Day | Tagged reading lists | 2 Comments »
I recently discovered Felix Felton (1911 – 72) who was a British actor, and a radio director and author. In 1961 he adapted Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern Bearers (published in 1959) for a six-part series for Children’s Hour for BBC Radio. In 1962 he also adapted Dawn Wind (1961) for radio, playing the role of Einon Hen himself.
Posted in Dawn Wind, Sutcliff Discovery of the Day, The Lantern Bearers | Tagged radio | 5 Comments »
I am wondering why there were over 50 visits yesterday from Israel to here (http://www.rosemarysutcliff.com) when usually there are only 1 or 2 a day from there? Any of you reading this too can tell me? I would appreciate it.
Posted in Sutcliff Discovery of the Day | Leave a Comment »