Writing Wales in English: in the Shadow of the Pulpit - Welsh Writers and Welsh Nonconformity
|ISBN: 9780708323427 (0708323421)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi: Ionawr 2011 Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press|
Fformat: E-lyfr, 320 tudalen
|Mae'r fformatau e-lyfrau canlynol ar gael i'w prynu. Bydd modd i chi lawrlwytho'r teitl yn y fformat a ddewisir ar ddiwedd y broses dalu.|
NID OES MODD LAWRLWYTHO E-LYFR A BRYNIR TRWY GWALES I DECLYN KINDLE.
|Does dim Adolygiad Cwsmer i'r teitl hwn.
Cyfrol sy'n edrych ar gynnyrch llenyddol o'r bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg hyd y presennol, sy'n ymateb i ddylanwad Anghydffurfiaeth Gymreig.
Ranging from the nineteenth century to the present, this book explores several central aspects of the ways in which the English-language poetry and fiction of Wales has responded to what was, for a crucial period of a century or so, the dominant culture of Wales: the culture of Welsh Nonconformity.
The nonconformist religion has had a tremendous influence on Welsh life, culture and literature. The latter is not always given due recognition but, in terms of Welsh writing in English, this gap is now filled by Professor Thomas’s ground-breaking work of scholarship. Nothing on this scale has appeared previously. Following a personal introduction on the significant aspects of chapel culture, the author then proceeds to explore the ways in which nonconformity developed in the eighteenth century.
The author’s mastery of his subject is equally demonstrated, as one would expect, in what he has to say about major Welsh writers in English from the twentieth century. Here the reader will encounter, among others the enfant terrible of the pulpit Caradoc Evans, as well as Rhys Davies, Glyn Jones, Gwyn Thomas, Wyn Griffiths, T. Harri Jones and Dylan Thomas.
I was pleased to find the novels of Siân James coming under very favourable scrutiny for portraying life in a Welsh-speaking community with rare honesty. Many readers will find the treatment of R. S. Thomas of immense interest.
Here is a volume of key importance which deserves a wide readership.
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.
1 A bluffer’s guide to Welsh Nonconformity
2 The Nonconformist century
3 Bringing Nonconformity to book
4 War of words: the preacher and the writer
5 Spoiled preachers
6 Wales BC
7 ‘Marlais’: Dylan Thomas and the ‘tin Bethels’
8 ‘Fucking and forgiveness’: the case of Glyn Jones
9 ‘Solid in goodly counsel’: the chapels write back
M. Wynn Thomas is Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales at Swansea University. He has written twenty books in both English and Welsh on English and Welsh-language literature of Wales and on American Poetry.
From village to city, the chapels loom large everywhere in the Welsh landscape. But what do they tell us about our past? This book introduces us in simple terms to chapel culture, and shows us how heavily it has influenced the modern world of Wales. In particular, it demonstrates how, from the nineteenth century onwards, the obsession of Welsh writers with the chapels came to shape their novels, plays and poems; and how their attitude towards them changed from sympathy to hostility and outright rivalry.
In the introduction, the author reflects on why no sustained attempt has hitherto been made to investigate one of the formative cultural influences on modern ‘Anglo-Welsh’ literature, the Nonconformist inheritance. The importance of addressing this strange and significant cultural deficit is then explained, and a preliminary attempt made to capture something of the spirit of Welsh Nonconformity. The succeeding chapters address and seek to answer such questions as: What exactly did the Welsh chapels believe and do? Why have the English-language writers of Wales, from Caradoc Evans and Dylan Thomas to R. S. Thomas and the authors of today, been so fascinated by them? How accurate are the impressions we’ve been given of chapel life and chapel people in the English-language poetry and fiction of Wales? The answers offered may alter our views both of the Welsh Nonconformist past and of Welsh writing in English. One of the ideas advanced is that many of Wales’s most important writers went to war with the preachers in their texts, and that their work is therefore the site of cultural struggle. Theirs was a war in words waged to determine who would have the last word on modern Welsh experience.
‘This is a crucially important analysis that should blaze a trail for succeeding generations to discover paths not only through the wilderness of their world but also their own selves. As I did as I read. Matters became clear which had been little more than a mist of intuition.’
‘Today it requires an exceptional effort of patient scholarship and historical empathy to convey how profoundly the thoughts, words, habits, and deeds of those who lived only a generation or so ago were shaped by religious influences–often never more so than when they sought to rebel against them. In this new history of the Welsh dissenting culture and its impact on major Anglo-Welsh writers, Professor Thomas eloquently and convincingly demonstrates how crucial its influence was. Anyone seriously interested in what the "Protestant imagination" was and for many actually still is will find great value in his insights, whose horizon extends across the Atlantic as well as through the centuries of Welsh history and literature from the Reformation to the mid-twentieth century.’
Lawrence Buell, Harvard University
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