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Gwybodaeth Lyfryddol
Secret Sins - Sex, Violence and Society in Carmarthenshire 1870-1920
Russell Davies
ISBN: 9780708313671 (0708313671)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Mawrth 2004
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, Caerdydd
Fformat: Clawr Meddal, 215 x 135 mm, 340 tudalen Iaith: Saesneg Allan o brint Ein Pris: £16.99   
Does dim Adolygiad Cwsmer i'r teitl hwn.
 
Ysgrifennwch Adolygiad Cwsmer
Cyfrol sy'n bwrw golwg newydd ar ryw, trais a bywyd cymdeithasol yn Sir Gaerfyrddin yn ystod y cyfnod 1870-1920. Ffotograffau du-a-gwyn. Cyhoeddwyd gyntaf ym mis Rhagfyr 1996.

A volume which provides a major new appraisal of sex, violence and social life in Carmarthenshire during the period 1870-1920. Black-and-white photographs. First published in December 1996.
Although the title might suggest a racy novel, this volume is, in fact, a work which breaks new ground in revealing important aspects of social history.

We may regard the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a time when Wales was overshadowed by the depressing restraints of nonconformity, but any suggestion of the people living in a Bible-black state of grace is dispelled by Davies’s subtitle: Sex, Violence and Society in Carmarthenshire 1870-1920. In the course of six fascinating chapters he presents the true picture, but be prepared to be disturbed.

For example, the inmates who had the extreme misfortune to find themselves committed to Carmarthen Lunatic Asylum were subjected to cruelty and indignity in a twilight world where the sick often appeared to be undergoing punishment rather than therapy.

The sexual side of things is revealed in some detail and here, as elsewhere throughout the book, Davies uses specific case histories, many of which he unearthed in newspapers of the period. One man, for example, persuaded a prostitute to take up residence at his home. Under the arrangement he had intercourse with her at will, although he expected his wife to share the same bed.

A hundred years ago rural Wales was still a deeply superstitious country. This reached its apex during Evan Roberts’s 1904 revival when many were firmly convinced that devils could be driven out of human hearts and souls. It is hardly surprising that Caradoc Evans felt compelled to write as he did in his fictional output.

Secret Sins is a work of considerable historical scholarship and the appendix of notes and sources which the author has drawn on extend to eighty pages, which is a tribute to his dedication in itself.

In some ways, no doubt, certain social factors may have been peculiar to the region which he writes about, but in so many respects it probably had a good deal in common with other Welsh counties.

Dewi Roberts

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio’r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatad Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Gwybodaeth Bellach:
SECRET SINS
Sex, Violence and Society in Carmarthenshire 1870-1920
Russell Davies
pp x334 1996 reprinted March 2004 paperback
A very exciting book which will attract considerable attention - a challenging,passionately-written and meticulously researched volume. It highlights the personal
experiences of the individual, and probes the private lives of people in order to fully appreciate the complex nature of society, uncovering layers of reality which have hitherto
escaped us.
‘ . . . this is an essay in ‘total history’, and a very successful one too. It is made so by the fact that the author knows whereof he writes . . . He is a local boy with a fine sense of place and a feel for people which finds expression in an energetic prose and lively turn of phrase. This is not only a good book, it’s a good read.’ (English Historical Review)
'With this fascinating and beautifully-written volume Russell Davies has opened up new possibilities for the social history not only of rural Wales but of rural society across Britain . . . He is to be praised for his courage in firstly setting a new agenda, and secondly, managing it with such style and flair.' (Social History Bulletin)
'This exciting book is social history with the people left in - not the cracach in their fancy mansions but ordinary mortals in the damp, dismal cottages or terraced slums. It is a human and humane book, unsensational except in the way it exposes the cosy myths, sympathetic in its approach and kind in its conclusions . . . It succeeds admirably . . .' (Western Mail)
' . . . a dazzing canvas, thronged with the authentic voices and vices of countless long-lost individuals . . . Scarcely a page passes in this hugely entertaining book without some equally compelling and memorable scene playing itself out . . . this excellent book . . . is based on a tremendous amount of secondary reading and its treatment of topics such as religion and superstition in the principality - a much neglected theme - is extremely interesting . . . Wittily written, well produced and nicely illustrated, the book will become required reading for historians of Victorian Wales.' (Economic History Review)
After an opening chapter on the demography, the author takes us on a less familiar journey: into a twilight world of mental illness and suicide, crime and protest, and
sexuality and tension, religion, superstitions and popular culture. This is a humane study which challenges and indeed, disturbs. For beneath the respectable, Nonconformist Welsh society we are confronted with many broken, tragic lives, some ending in suicide. The detailed analysis of sexuality and tension overturns the cosy image often presented of the Welsh being a people of pure and faultless morals: we are offered insights into the life
of the prostitute, into the extent of illegitimacy and into the many cases of indecent assaults on women. Market: Will have a wide appeal not only in Carmarthenshire (where it
will prove a rather disturbing and controversial read) but to students of social history
in general.
Author: Dr Russell Davies is Assistant Registrar at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Does dim Adolygiad Cwsmer, hyd yma, i'r llyfr hwn.
 
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