Rosemary Sutcliff Eleanor Cameron - Essay

Eleanor Cameron

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The] power of imagination Rosemary Sutcliff needed in order to cast herself back into the minds and feelings of the Bronze Age peoples in Warrior Scarlet is fully as vital and astounding as that required by any of the great fantasists. Sutcliff's quality of imagination is different from theirs, no doubt, for there are many different kinds, but it is just as truly a wizard power to exist so completely in the past that the reader never stops once to question any action, any name, any practice or statement or habit of these ancient people. There is never once a false or hollow ring; on the other hand, every scene is packed with evocation and reality. We feel deeply what her boy Drem felt in that far-off time, not only because of his own nature, but because of the nature and history of his culture. A sense of profound conviction is conjured out of this fusion of research and empathy and imagination. (pp. 263-64)

Eleanor Cameron, "'The Dearest Freshness Deep Down Things'" (originally published in a different form in The Horn Book Magazine, Vol. XL, No. 5, October, 1964), in her The Green and Burning Tree: On the Writing and Enjoyment of Children's Books (copyright © 1962, 1964, 1966, 1969 by Eleanor Cameron; reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company in association with The Atlantic Monthly Press), Atlantic-Little, Brown, 1969, pp. 258-76.∗