The Spell of Sarnia: fictional representations of the island of Guernsey

Goodall, Peter (2007) The Spell of Sarnia: fictional representations of the island of Guernsey. Shima: the International Journal of Research into Island Cultures, 1 (2). pp. 59-69. ISSN 1834-6049

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Although there is nothing that resembles a comprehensive literary history of Guernsey, or of any of the islands of the English Channel, Guernsey has been the subject of many interesting representations in fiction. Two great novels dominate this tradition: Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea (1866) and G. B. Edwards’s The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (1981), and these novels have a powerful intertextual relationship. One or two novels written in between are major works of literary art, for example Mervyn Peake’s Mr. Pye (1953), but most of the other eighty or so novels are works of popular fiction in a variety of genres and modes, especially the historical romance and the adventure story. On the whole, these novels rehearse a limited number of common themes: a romantic conception of Guernsey’s history, the physical beauty of the island coupled with a sense of the dangers of its dramatic coastline and the sea that surrounds it, and the prominence of religion in island society, in terms of both Christian sectarianism and the underground presence into modern times of paganism and witchcraft.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - No Department
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2008 06:39
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2017 04:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: Guernsey; Channel Islands; Hugo; Edwards; Peake; religion
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200503 British and Irish Literature
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170111 Psychology of Religion
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature

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