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

Article


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.
Article Title

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

ERA Journal ID36413
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorGoodall, Peter
Journal TitleShima: the international journal of research into island cultures
Journal Citation1 (2), pp. 59-69
Number of Pages11
Year2007
Place of PublicationSydney, Australia
ISSN1834-6049
1834-6057
Web Address (URL)http://www.shimajournal.org/issues/v1n2/g.%20Goodall%20Shima%20v1n2%20.pdf
Abstract

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.

KeywordsGuernsey; Channel Islands; Hugo; Edwards; Peake; religion
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470504. British and Irish literature
500405. Religion, society and culture
520504. Psychology of religion
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Arts
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