Writers of Wales Series: Goronwy Rees
|ISBN: 9780708316771 (0708316778)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Hydref 2001 |
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, CaerdyddFformat: Clawr Meddal, 216x138 mm, 119 tudalen
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Yr astudiaeth lawn gyntaf o waith Goronwy Rees (1909-1979), llenor a newyddiadurwr, yn gosod ei waith yng nghyd-destun ei fywyd lliwgar a dramatig. 7 ffotograff du-a-gwyn.
The first full study of the work of Goronwy Rees (1909-1979), writer and journalist, setting his work in the context of his colourful and dramatic life. 7 black-and-white photographs.
Dr John Harris of Aberystwyth has long been recognised as our foremost authority on the life and work of Caradog Evans, father of the Anglo-Welsh literary genre. During recent years, he has devoted his acute scholarly perceptions and eminently balanced judgement to an intensive study of the career of Goronwy Rees (190979), the ill-fated principal of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, from 1953 until 1957. This is the first substantial, objective study of Rees's fascinating life and was assisted by the unstinting co-operation and reminiscences of his only daughter, Jenny Rees.
In a worthy addition to the renowned Writers of Wales series published by the University of Wales Press over several decades, Dr Harris has provided us with a rigorously researched, lucidly written and well-illustrated tome which examines the extraordinary career of the Oxford fellow, intellectual and top-ranking journalist, employed by the Manchester Guardian and the Spectator, who became principal in the sleepy university seaside town in the 1950s and was dramatically forced to resign following startling revelations about his friendship with Guy Burgess. Thereafter he earned his living again as a successful writer and journalist.
The author strikes a judicious balance between his subject's personal and family life and his public career and work as a writer. One feature of particular interest is Harris's sensitive analysis of Rees's attitude to Wales and things Welsh: the advocate of devolution for Wales who was so often accused of being 'anti-Welsh'.
The author entertains us with an array of well-chosen quotations from Rees's own works and from the opinions of many of his professional and personal associates, and provides an admirably helpful bibliography. If one may be allowed to nit-pick, the use of footnotes (only 59 in a text running to 94 pages) is somewhat arbitrary and thus a little frustrating on occasion for the enquiring mind.
The avid reader, his appetite whetted by this stimulating volume, may well be tempted to proceed to reading Rees's two well-known volumes of reminiscences, A Bundle of Sensations (1960) and A Chapter of Accidents (1972). Both have been admirably edited and re-published by Dr Harris in his Goronwy Rees: Sketches in Autobiography (2001). One hopes that the author might be encouraged to publish a full-length scholarly biography of his subject and a bibliography of his multifarious writings. Both would certainly make an enduring contribution and would be well received.
J. Graham Jones
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.
Goronwy Rees (Writers of Wales)
pp x109 8 b/w ills. October 2001 paperback £5.99
'This is the first substantial, objective study of Rees's
fascinating life and was assisted by the unstinting co-operation and
reminiscences of his only daughter, Jenny Rees.
In a worthy addition to the renowned Writers of Wales series published by
the University of Wales Press over several decades, Dr Harris has provided us
with a rigorously researched, lucidly written and well-illustrated tome which
examines the extraordinary career of the Oxford fellow, intellectual and
top-ranking journalist, employed by the Manchester Guardian and the Spectator,
who became principal in the sleepy university seaside town in the 1950s and was
dramatically forced to resign following startling revelations about his
friendship with Guy Burgess.' (gwales.com)
Within the limited length of the Writers of Wales series, John Harriss biography makes astute use of all the possibilities of Reess life to take the reader on an absorbing and impressively erudite journey through the world of a character who turns out to be too variously talented for his own good. Times Literary Supplement . . . this splendid book. Planet
After gaining an Oxford fellowship at the age of twenty-one, Goronwy Rees (1909-79) went on to write for the Guardian and the Spectator before becoming Principal of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1953. A Marxist intellectual turned cold warrior, who also claimed that writing books is the only thing Im serious about, he became a full-time writer in 1957 following his acrimonious resignation from Aberystwyth over revelations about his friendship with Guy Burgess. This first study of Rees as author sets his writings in the context of a dramatically eventful life.
John Harris also discusses Reess complex relationship with Wales and how, although an unwavering advocate of home rule, he was perceived in his native country as being anti-Welsh. Whatever his personal trials, Rees kept up writing, publishing a powerful novel of ideas, a range of non-literary books, and two fine volumes of memoirs blending fictionalised autobiography with acute social analysis.
Formerly a lecturer in bibliography at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth,
John Harris has edited numerous works by Caradoc Evans and written
extensively on Anglo-Welsh publishing history. He is the compiler of A Bibliographical Guide to Twenty-Four Modern Anglo-Welsh Writers (1994) and the editor of Goronwy Rees: Sketches in Autobiography (2001).
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