Revealing Guernsey's ancient history in fact and fiction

Article


Goodall, Peter. 2016. "Revealing Guernsey's ancient history in fact and fiction." Shima: the international journal of research into island cultures. 10 (2), pp. 118-128. https://doi.org/10.21463/shima.10.2.12
Article Title

Revealing Guernsey's ancient history in fact and fiction

ERA Journal ID36413
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorGoodall, Peter
Journal TitleShima: the international journal of research into island cultures
Journal Citation10 (2), pp. 118-128
Number of Pages11
Year2016
Place of PublicationSydney, Australia
ISSN1834-6049
1834-6057
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.21463/shima.10.2.12
Web Address (URL)http://www.shimajournal.org/issues/v10n2/l.-Goodall-Shima-v10n2.pdf
Abstract

In G. B. Edwards’ novel of 20th Century Guernsey life, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page (1981), Ebenezer becomes the unlikely custodian of an ‘ancient monument’ discovered on his land. The incident is treated, in the main, as a topic for comedy—a part of the novel’s satire of the many pretences and frauds of modern Guernsey—but the underlying issues should not be lightly put aside. ‘Les Fouaillages’, a megalithic site discovered in 1978, the year after Edwards’s death, on L’Ancresse Common, a short walk from the place where the fictional Ebenezer spent his whole life, is thought to be 6000 years old, and has a claim to be amongst the oldest built sites on the planet. There are many other ancient sites and monuments on this small island, as there are on the neighbouring Channel Island of Jersey. This article looks at the interconnected yet contrasting ways in which this extraordinary legacy on Guernsey has been revealed and described: the scholarly discourse of archaeology, the myth and legend of the popular imagination, and the literature of Guernsey’s poets and novelists.

KeywordsGuernsey; Neolithic Age; megaliths; G. B. Edwards; Victor Hugo
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470504. British and Irish literature
430104. Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
470516. Literature in French
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Arts and Communication
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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