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Writers of Wales Series: Islwyn Ffowc Elis
T. Robin Chapman
ISBN: 9780708316559 (0708316557)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Gorffennaf 2000
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, Caerdydd
Fformat: Clawr Meddal, 216x138 mm, 96 tudalen Iaith: Saesneg Archebir yn l y galw Ein Pris: £7.99   
Does dim Adolygiad Cwsmer i'r teitl hwn.
 
Ysgrifennwch Adolygiad Cwsmer
Astudiaeth werthfawrogol yn Saesneg o gyfraniad llenyddol Islwyn Ffowc Elis, tad y nofel gyfoes Gymraeg, i ddatblygiad y genre fel ffurf berthnasol i'r byd modern.

A critical study in English of the literary contribution of Islwyn Ffowc Elis, father of the modern Welsh novel, to the development of the contemporary relevance of the genre.
While most books are reviewed by experts, it seems appropriate that this latest monograph in the Writers of Wales series, a series designed as an introduction to the literature of Wales through the medium of English, be reviewed by one who has recently learnt Welsh and is enjoying exploring its literature.

The first chapter places Islwyn Ffowc Elis in the context of both Welsh literature and Welsh politics in the mid-twentieth century and stresses the two sides to his literary personality – the writer who invariably provides a good read, but who is also prepared to experiment with different literary forms, and the political animal, using his writing as a means of expressing his strong political, i.e. nationalist, sympathies.

A brief account of his life emphasises the Welshness of his upbringing only two miles away from the English border, his feeling of isolation in the anti-Welsh atmosphere of Llangollen Grammar School, and his sense of relief when he could regain his Welshness at Bangor. His failure as a Methodist minister, his subsequent career as lecturer, editor, producer, translator and full-time author all influenced his writings.

These writings – essays, novels, and short stories – are considered chronologically in the main section of the book. A summary of each is followed by an analysis which discusses both its stylistic features and the political and social ideas it propounds. These are illustrated by brief but lively quotations, in English, and enough information is given to enable the reader to decide whether he wishes to read the whole work.

The final chapter puts Islwyn Ffowc Elis’s achievement in its historical context. Over fifty years after the death of Daniel Owen he revived the Welsh novel, created a new readership for it and established the Welsh language as a suitable medium for the writing of novels.

A comment made about many of Islwyn Ffowc Elis’s novels is that they are ‘a good read’ – words which can also be applied to this book. The style flows easily and is enlivened by many felicitous phrases which raise a smile and retain the reader’s interest. Islwyn Ffowc Elis himself is called a ‘genre bender’ and the rather homely Lisabeth is ‘a vision in a white angora cardigan’. This monograph, which complements the earlier book by Delyth George, will stimulate the reader who, like the present reviewer, knows only the Lleifior novels, to venture further and enjoy the writings of the man regarded as the father of the modern Welsh novel.

Stan Jenkins

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment 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 ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
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