Wales and the French Revolution: Welsh Poetry of the French Revolution 1789-1805
|ISBN: 9780708325285 (0708325289)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Tachwedd 2012 |
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, CaerdyddFformat: Clawr Meddal, 234x156 mm, 474 tudalen
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Casgliad o farddoniaeth Gymraeg a chyfieithiadau Saesneg sy'n cyfleu ambell ymateb radical ac adweithiol i'r Chwyldro Ffrengig, rhwng 1789 ac 1805.
This anthology of Welsh poetry and English translations presents some of Wales's radical and reactionary responses to the French Revolution and its cultural legacy, 1789-1805.
The French revolution of 1789 had an unsettling effect on the social order which extended to language and thought creating long-lasting cultural consequences. Welsh Poetry of the French Revolution 1789–1805 is part of a series produced by the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, a research institute of the University of Wales located in Aberystwyth. The series aims to make available a wide range of Welsh material from the decades spanning the Revolution and the subsequent wars with France. Much of the material is published here for the first time and reflects the political and cultural complexity of the period.
This volume includes poetry by some twenty-four authors who lived between 1716 and 1849. The poems have been printed in a clear and accessible form for modern readers. The orthography, punctuation and capitalization of the original Welsh-language texts have been standardised and modernised. English translations are provided, making this a most valuable resource and opening up a hitherto inaccessible treasury of thought and literature for non-Welsh speakers.
The text has been meticulously edited and includes detailed notes, index and a select bibliography which makes fascinating reading, containing as it does nuggets such as the fact that Morgan John Rhys (1760–1804) was so convinced that the French craved the freedom of the Protestant Gospel that he travelled to France to preach and distribute French Bibles in Paris in 1792.
The first forty-seven pages of Welsh Poetry of the French Revolution 1789–1805 consist of an academic introductory essay which is followed by over three hundred pages of poems in Welsh with English translations. The remaining seventy pages are devoted to notes to the texts and to the bibliography.
The poems cover topics such as liberty, peace, oppression, the rights of man, views on the government in England by William and Mary, the causes and horrors of war between Britain and France, on the rebellion in France when King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded, and laments on the death of Admiral Nelson.
John Thomas (1757–1835) wrote a young girl’s lament for her lover who was a soldier, in which the war is an obstacle to getting a husband:
‘that there are three holes for every button is a very heavy blow for me;
the lads went in droves over land and sea,
and so a shapely girl and a maiden are hard pressed to find a husband.
I wish that the wars would be over,
I pray that the war should be over!’
I was fascinated to read about Anglesey in 1796 when dogs were taxed for the first time, a short poem (or englynion) on the Right Dishonourable William Pitt, and a verse on ‘Belle Isle March’ praising God for delivering our kingdom through a miraculous storm when the French sailed near Ireland. In short, an academic text which holds great interest for non-academic readers.
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.
Texts and Translations
Dr Cathryn Charnell-White is currently a research fellow at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS).
This anthology presents a selection of the poems with which Welsh writers living in Wales and London participated, through the medium of Welsh, to the controversy in Britain surrounding the French Revolution. They have been edited and translated into English for the first time ever. The volume also considers the cultural inheritance of the French Revolution in eisteddfodic poetry and poems to national heroes in which the competing notions of Welshness and Britishness come to the fore.
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