A Deep Dive into Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising
This week - the final episode of Season 1, Storyshaped fans! - Susan and Sinéad are indulging themselves with a Deep Dive into one of the books that profoundly shaped both of them. We're discussing Susan Cooper's 1973 classic The Dark Is Rising, which is a book that Susan describes as being part of her soul. It's an incredible story about a boy named Will Stanton, who steps into his power as an Old One on his eleventh birthday - and it involves such a wealth of mythology, folklore, allusions to medieval texts, and other stuff that pleases our nerdy hearts, that this episode was the MOST fun to record. Please do come with us as we dive deep into this beautiful book, which has Storyshaped us both, and get ready to whisper with us:
When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back,
Three from the circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron, water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone...
Many different editions of Susan Cooper's classic book exist, but this is a recent edition which might be easily accessible: The Dark Is Rising
Biographical details about Cooper's life and work are drawn from her website: The Lost Land of Susan Cooper
We draw on Heritage Artefacts of County Cork by Denis Power and Mary Sleeman (2022) for some of our insights into the mandala symbol
Referenced in the episode is this blog post: https://consolationofreading.wordpress.com/tag/piers-plowman/
We also make reference to A Guidebook to Piers Plowman by Anna Baldwin, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007
Susan draws on Britannic Myths by Steven O'Brien and Joe Machine (ill.) in our discussion of Herne the Hunter and Wayland Smith
The podcast dramatisation of The Dark is Rising can be found on Spotify here: BBC Sounds Robert MacFarlane The Dark is Rising Adaptation
And the brilliant Backlisted Podcast episode with Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris is here: Backlisted Podcast
Thank you all so much for listening to Season 1 of Storyshaped! We're delighted to have reached so many ears, and we hope to reach many more in Season 2 - we'll be back in 2023 with more guest interviews and lots more bookish joy. Until then: all our best wishes for the Festive Season to everyone who celebrates, however you celebrate, and whatever you're doing: make sure to find a nice quiet corner to curl up in with a good book.
Our podcast bookshop in Ireland is Halfway Up the Stairs: www.halfwayupthestairs.ie
In the UK, check out our storefront on: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/Storyshaped. Disclaimer: If you buy books linked to our site, we may earn a commission from bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookshops.