Alan Garner(born 17 October 1934) is an English novelist best known for his children’s fantasy novels and his retellings of traditional British folk tales. Much of his work is rooted in the landscape, history and folklore of his native county of Cheshire, North West England, being set in the region and making use of the native Cheshire dialect.
Alan Garner(born 17 October 1934) is an English novelist best known for his children’s fantasy novels and his retellings of traditional British folk tales. Much of his take effect is rooted in the landscape, history and folklore of his native county of Cheshire, North West England, being set in the region and making use of the original Cheshire dialect.
Born in Congleton, Garner grew up something like the understandable town of Alderley Edge, and spent much of his teenage years in the wooded area known locally as “The Edge”, where he gained an early fascination in the folklore of the region. Studying at Manchester Grammar School and after that briefly at Oxford University, in 1957 he moved to the village of Blackden, where he bought and renovated an Early Modern Period (circa 1590) building known as Toad Hall. His first novel, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, was published in 1960. A children’s fantasy novel set on the Edge, it incorporated elements of local folklore in its plot and characters. Garner completed a sequel, The Moon of Gomrath (1963), but left the third wedding album of the trilogy unfinished. Instead he wrote several fantasy novels, Elidor (1965), The Owl Service (1967) and Red Shift (1973).
Turning away from fantasy as a genre, Garner produced The Stone Book Quartet (1979), a series of four sharp novellas detailing a hours of daylight in the computer graphics of four generations of his family. He along with published a series of British folk tales which he had rewritten in a series of books entitled Alan Garner’s Fairy Tales of Gold (1979), Alan Garner’s Book of British Fairy Tales (1984) and A Bag of Moonshine (1986). In his subsequent novels, Strandloper (1996) and Thursbitch (2003), he continued writing tales revolving with hint to Cheshire, although without the fantasy elements which had characterised his earlier work. In 2012, he finally published a third record in the Weirdstone trilogy, Boneland.
Garner was born in the tummy room of his grandmother’s home in Congleton, Cheshire, on 17 October 1934. He was raised in affable Alderley Edge, a booming village that had effectively become a suburb of Manchester. His “rural working-class family”, had been joined to Alderley Edge back at least the sixteenth century, and could be traced incite to the death of William Garner in 1592. Garner has acknowledged that his intimates had passed on “a real oral tradition” involving folk tales roughly The Edge, which included a description of a king and his army of knights who slept below it, guarded by a wizard. In the mid-nineteenth century Alan’s great-great grandfather Robert had carved the aim of a bearded wizard onto the point of view of a cliff adjacent to a well, known locally at that time as the Wizard’s Well.
Robert Garner and his new relatives had all been craftsmen, and, according to Garner, each successive generation had tried to “improve on, or pull off something swing from, the previous generation”. Garner’s grandfather, Joseph Garner, “could read, but didn’t and in view of that was roughly unlettered”. Instead he taught his grandson the folk tales he knew about The Edge. Garner forward-looking remarked that consequently he was “aware of [the Edge’s] magic” as a child, and he and his friends often played there. The version of the king and the wizard living under the hill played an important allowance in his life, becoming, he explained, “deeply embedded in my psyche” and heavily influencing his well along novels.
Garner faced several life-threatening childhood illnesses, which left him bed ridden for much of the time. He attended a local village school, where he found that, despite physical praised for his intelligence, he was punished for speaking in his original Cheshire dialect; for instance, when he was six his primary researcher teacher washed his mouth out behind soapy water. Garner later won a place at Manchester Grammar School, where he standard his secondary education; entry was means-tested, resulting in his learned fees brute waived. Rather than focusing his interest upon creative writing, it was here that he excelled at sprinting. He used to go jogging along the highway, and difficult claimed that in doing correspondingly he was sometimes along with the mathematician Alan Turing, who shared his assimilation with the Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Garner was later conscripted into national service, serving for a time gone the Royal Artillery while posted to Woolwich in Southeast London.
At school, Garner had developed a Eager interest in the statute of Aeschylus and Homer, as well as the Ancient Greek language. Thus, he established to pursue the scrutiny of Classics at Magdalen College, Oxford, passing his admittance exams in January 1953; at the period he had thoughts of becoming a professional academic. He was the first member of his associates to receive whatever more than a basic education, and he noted that this removed him from his “cultural background” and led to something of a schism with new members of his family, who “could not cope taking into account me, and I could not cope with” them. Looking back, he remarked, “I soon bookish that it was not a great idea to come house excited over atypical verbs”. In 1955, he associated the academic circles theatrical society, playing the role of Mark Antony in a behave of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra where he co-starred to the side of Dudley Moore and where Kenneth Baker was substitute manager. In August 1956, he arranged that he wished to devote himself to novel writing, and approved to hand over his the academy education without taking a degree; he left Oxford in late 1956. He nevertheless felt that the academic rigour which he intellectual during his academic circles studies has remained “a long-lasting strength through everything my life”.
Aged 22, Garner was out cycling later he came across a hand-painted sign announcing that an agricultural cottage in Toad Hall – a Late Medieval building situated in Blackden, seven miles from Alderley Edge – was upon sale for £510. Although he personally could not afford it, he was lent the money by the local Oddfellow lodge, enabling him to purchase and pretend to have into the cottage in June 1957. In the late nineteenth century the Hall had been not speaking into two agricultural labourers’ cottages, but Garner was skillful to purchase the second for £150 about a year later; he proceeded to knock the length of the dividing walls and convert both halves assist into a single home.
Garner had begun writing his first novel, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen: A Tale of Alderley, in September 1956. However it was though at Toad Hall that he over and curtains with the book. Set in Alderley Edge, it revolves in story to two children, Susan and Colin, who are sent to conscious in the area with their mother’s out of date nursemaid, Bess, and her husband, Gowther Mossock. While exploring the Edge, they court case a race of malevolent creatures, the svart alfar, who dwell in the Edge’s lonely mines and who seem intent on capturing them. They are rescued by the wizard Cadellin, who reveals that the forces of darkness are massing at the Edge in search of a powerful magical talisman, the eponymous “weirdstone of Brisingamen”.
Whilst writing in his spare time Garner attempted to get employment as a teacher, but soon gave that up, believing that “I couldn’t write and teach; the energies were too similar.” Instead, he worked off and on as a general labourer for four years, remaining unemployed for much of that time.
Garner sent his debut novel to the publishing company Collins, where it was picked in the works by the company’s head, Sir William Collins, who was upon the see out for new fantasy novels in the same way as the recent flyer and essential success of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (1954–55). Garner, who went upon to become a personal friend of Collins, would later relate that “Billy Collins saw a title similar to funny-looking words in it on the stockpile, and he settled to make known it.” On its forgiveness in 1960, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen proved to be a critical and personal ad success, later creature described as “a tour de force of the imagination, a novel that showed almost every writer who came afterwards what it was attainable to achieve in novels ostensibly published for children.” Garner himself however would forward-looking denounce hus first novel as “a fairly bad book” in 1968.
With his first wedding album published, Garner by yourself his work as a labourer and gained a job as a freelance television reporter, living a “hand to mouth” lifestyle on a “shoestring” budget. He along with began a sequel to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, which would be known as The Moon of Gomrath. The Moon of Gomrath also revolves as regards the adventures of Colin and Susan, with the latter brute possessed by a malevolent living thing called the Brollachan who has recently entered the world. With the incite of the wizard Cadellin, the Brollachan is exorcised, but Susan’s soul in addition to leaves her body, being sent to substitute dimension, leaving Colin to find a way to bring it back. Critic Neil Philip characterised it as “an artistic advance” but “a less satisfying story”. In a 1989 interview, Garner avowed that he had left scope for a third book once the adventures of Colin and Susan, envisioning a trilogy, but that he had intentionally decided not to write it, instead moving upon to write something different. However Boneland, the conclusion to the sequence, was belatedly published in August 2012.
In 1962 Garner began work upon a radio play-act entitled Elidor, which eventually became a novel of the similar name. Set in contemporary Manchester, Elidor tells the savings account of four children who enter a derelict Victorian church and locate a portal to the magical realm of Elidor. In Elidor, they are entrusted by King Malebron to incite rescue four treasures which have been stolen by the forces of evil, who are attempting to take control of the kingdom. The children succeed and return to Manchester bearing in mind the treasures, but are pursued by the malevolent forces who compulsion the items to seal their victory.
Before writing Elidor, Garner had seen a dinner relieve set which could be contracted to make pictures of either flowers or owls. Inspired by this design, he produced his fourth novel, The Owl Service. The story, which was heavily influenced by the Medieval Welsh parable of Math fab Mathonwy from, the Mabinogion., was systematically acclaimed, winning both the Carnegie Medal and Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. It along with sparked discussions in the course of critics as to whether Garner should properly be considered a children’s writer, given that this wedding album in particular was deemed equally within sufficient limits for an adult readership.
It took Garner six years to write his bordering novel, Red Shift. The record centers on three intertwined adore stories, one set in the present, another during the English Civil War, and the third in the second century CE. Philip referred to it as “a mysterious book but not a complicated one: the bare lines of story and emotion stand clear”.
Academic specialist in children’s literature Maria Nikolajeva characterised Red Shift as “a hard book” for an unprepared reader, identifying its main themes as those of “loneliness and failure to communicate”. Ultimately, she thought that repeated re-readings of the novel bring roughly the realisation that “it is a perfectly realistic checking account with much more sharpness and psychologically more credible than the most so-called “realistic” juvenile novels.”
From 1976 to 1978, Garner published a series of four novellas, which have grant be collectively known as The Stone Book quartet: The Stone Book, Granny Reardun, The Aimer Gate, and Tom Fobble’s Day. Each focused on a hours of daylight in the vivaciousness of a child in the Garner family, each from a oscillate generation.
In a 1989 interview, Garner noted that although writing The Stone Book Quartet had been “exhausting”, it had been “the most rewarding of everything” he’d curtains to date. Philip described the quartet as “a fixed idea command of the material he had been dynamic and reworking back the start of his career”.
Garner pays particular attention to language, and strives to render the cadence of the Cheshire tongue in modern English. This he explains by the prudence of invasion he felt upon reading “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”: the footnotes would not have been needed by his father.
In 1981, the educational critic Neil Philip published an analysis of Garner’s novels as A Fine Anger, which was based on his doctoral thesis, produced for the University of London in 1980. In this laboratory analysis he noted that “The Stone Book quartet marks a watershed in Garner’s writing career, and provides a standard moment for an evaluation of his work fittingly far.”
In 1996, Garner’s novel Strandloper was published. His store of essays and public talks, The Voice That Thunders, contains much autobiographical material (including an account of his life with bipolar disorder), as capably as vital reflection upon folklore and language, literature and education, the flora and fauna of myth and time. In The Voice That Thunders he reveals the billboard pressure placed on him during the decade-long drought which preceded Strandloper to ‘forsake “literature”, and become then again a “popular” writer, cashing in on my received name by producing sequels to, and making series of, the earlier books’. Garner feared that “making series … would render sterile the existing work, the vivaciousness that produced it, and bring more or less my artistic and spiritual death” and felt unable to comply.
Garner’s novel Thursbitch was published in 2003. Garner’s novel, Boneland, was published in 2012, nominally completing a trilogy begun some 50 years earlier with The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.
In August 2018 Garner published his only set of memoirs, Where Shall We Run To?, which describes his childhood during the Second World War.