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Gwybodaeth Lyfryddol
Dialogue of the Government of Wales (1594), The - Updated Text and Commentary
John Gwynfor Jones
ISBN: 9780708322291 (0708322298)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Chwefror 2010
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, Caerdydd
Fformat: Clawr Caled, 222x145 mm, 206 tudalen Iaith: Saesneg Archebir yn ôl y galw Pris Llawn: £48.00 
Ein Pris: £19.99 
Rydych yn Arbed: £28.01 (58.4%)   
Does dim Adolygiad Cwsmer i'r teitl hwn.
 
Ysgrifennwch Adolygiad Cwsmer
Rhennir y gyfrol hon i ddwy brif adran. Mae'r gyntaf yn cynnwys rhagarweiniad manwl i gefndir 'The Dialogue' a ysgrifennwyd yn 1594 gan George Owen o Henllys, gogledd Sir Benfro, ac yna, yn yr ail ran, ceir diweddariad o'r testun, gyda nodiadau esboniadol.

This volume is broadly divided into two main sections. The first part comprises a detailed introduction to the background of 'The Dialogue', written in 1594 by George Owen of Henllys, north Pembrokeshire, followed by an updated version of the text with explanatory notes.
George Owen of Henllys is primarily remembered for The Description of Penbrokshire [sic], (1603), which, when published at the end of the 18th century and republished a hundred years later, helped to establish him as one of that group of notable Welsh antiquarians and historians of the early modern period which included Sir John Price, David Powel and Humphrey Llwyd.

The Dialogue of the Government of Wales is less well known but deserves far more attention than it has previously received, and this edition by John Gwynfor Jones makes it accessible to interested (not necessarily specialist) readers by providing an introduction and commentary which locate it firmly in its historical, social, political and personal contexts.

The Dialogue takes places between Demetus (a native of Dyfed, as his name implies) and Barthol, a German lawyer from Frankfurt who is travelling through Europe to learn about other countries’ laws and customs. Their discussion is wide-ranging: the varieties of court of law in Wales and their jurisdictions and practices; the cause of Henry IV’s hatred of Welshmen; the advantages of the divisions of the year for legal purposes in the laws of Hywel Dda; ‘the great wrong done to Pembrokeshire by taking divers lordships from it and adding the same to Carmarthenshire’; and ‘how much Pembrokeshire is bound to God for his goodness above the rest of Wales, with a warning to them to be thankful therefore’. As the last two topics demonstrate, Demetus’s account of the workings of justice in Wales shows clearly where his roots and interests lie, and John Gwynfor Jones discusses in some detail the similarities between the character and the author, as well as the formation of Owen’s political attitudes and his enthusiastic support of the Tudors by whose rule, in his eyes, God had blessed the Welsh nation (these blessings included the Acts of Union, 1536-43).

John Gwynfor Jones’s’ introduction analyses in detail the strengths and weaknesses of Owen’s account of the government of Wales during the late 16th century, while relating it clearly to the man who wrote it and the context in which it was written. The result is an illuminating and scholarly edition of an interesting and undervalued text.

Gwyneth Tyson Roberts

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.
Bywgraffiad Awdur:
Professor John Gwynfor Jones is former Professor of Welsh History at Cardiff University.
Gwybodaeth Bellach:
George Owen was the most observant Welsh historians of the late sixteenth century, and in the ‘Dialogue’ he discusses the main functions of legal institutions of government in Tudor Wales following the Acts of Union (1536-43). The discourse is not merely a description of those institutions but rather, in the form of a dialogue, it provides an analysis of the good and bad aspects of the Tudor legal structure. Emphasis is placed on the administration of the Acts of Union, and comparisons are drawn with the harsh penal legislation which had previously been imposed by Henry IV. Owen reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the Henrician settlement, but heartily praises the Tudor regime, regarding Henry VII and Henry VIII as liberators of the Welsh nation which the author, in the ‘prophetic tradition’, associated with the nation’s historic destiny.

In this ‘Dialogue’ Demetus is described as a native Welsh gentleman and Barthol as the German lawyer from Frankfort travelling through Europe and observing legal practices. The Socratic method applied reveals the Renaissance style of conducting debates, a framework which gives the work much of its appeal. The ‘Dialogue’ is an invaluable Tudor source which places Welsh Tudor government and administration in a broader historical perspective.
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