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Almanac: Yearbook of Welsh Writing in English, No. 16
ISBN: 9781908069931 (1908069937)Publication Date: July 2012
Publisher: Parthian Books
Edited by Katie Gramich Format: Paperback, 216x140 mm, 248 pages Language: English Available Our Price: £14.99 
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A collection of critical essays by renowned scholars dealing with various aspects of literature, both poetry and prose, written in English in Wales during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Casgliad o draethodau beirniadol gan ysgolheigion cydnabyddedig yn ymwneud ag amryfal agweddau ar lenyddiaeth, yn farddoniaeth a rhyddiaith Saesneg, a ysgrifennwyd yng Nghymru yn ystod yr 20fed a'r 21ain ganrif.
Like its predecessor, this, the sixteenth annual yearbook of critical essays on Welsh Writing in English, presents an eclectic and stimulating mix of subjects and approaches to them. Historically, topics range from the first half of the seventeenth century (poems by David Lloyd, recently discovered and discussed by James Doelman) to the middle of the twentieth century (the case for the distinctively Welsh modernism of Lynette Roberts, persuasively argued by Laura Wainwright).

An examination of the radical political perspectives of three working-class Welsh poets by H. Gustav Klaus brings the ballads of the neglected Hugh Williams from the 1840s into fruitful comparison with the work of the better-known T. E. Nicholas and Idris Davies in the first half of the twentieth century; the account of the ways the picture of Welsh working-class discontent and struggle in Amy Dillwyn's The Rebecca Rioter (1880) was used in the novel's translation into Russian (carefully analysed by Kirsti Bohata and Stephen Lovatt) provides a fascinating contrast. Two essays centred on the work of Caradoc Evans - an examination of Welsh critical responses (by Kieron Smith) and an account of Evans's early 'Cockney' stories which show the gradual emergence of the themes and satirical tone of his later work (by Tomos Owen) provide valuable contexts for a consideration of Evans's mature work; and Luke Thurston ably demonstrates how, for David Jones, modernism was the only possible literary response to his experience of World War I, and analyses the relation between ‘In Parenthesis’ and Malory's ‘Le Morte d'Arthur’.

An essay (necessarily but tantalisingly brief) by T. Robin Chapman on attitudes to, and perceived purposes of, the translation of Welsh literature into English from the eighteenth to late twentieth centuries provides a magisterial overview of the ways in which these attitudes and perceived purposes relate to Welsh literary identity – the underlying concern of all the essays in this collection – and the volume is completed by the annual critical bibliography of Welsh Writing in English, compiled by Emma Schofield.

As always, the yearbook reflects the diversity of subjects and critical approaches to them in research currently being carried out in the field of Welsh writing in English, and makes for a varied, and very enjoyable, read.

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.
Further Information:
Issue 16 of Almanac: The Yearbook of Welsh Writing in English continues its commitment to publishing the best new research by established and emerging critics in the field. This lively issue roams from Ceredigion to Russia, from London to Merthyr, via Argentina and Llanybri. Topics discussed include revolutionary poetry, the politics of translation, the forging of the canon of Welsh writing in English, and the peculiarities of Welsh Modernism. The essays reach as far back as the seventeenth century and bring us right up to the present with the indispensible annual critical bibliography, complied by Emma Schofield. There are two contrasting essays by Tomos Owen and Kieron Smith providing fresh insight into the work of the figure who is still often seen as the ‘Father of Anglo-Welsh literature’, Caradoc Evans. Four essays examine very diverse poetry, embracing the working-class ballads expertly anatomised by Professor H. Gustav Klaus, the distinctive Modernist experiments of David Jones and Lynette Roberts, skilfully analysed by Luke Thurston and Laura Wainwright, respectively, and finally the new discoveries made by James Doelman among the manuscripts of the early modern poet, David Lloyd. T. Robin Chapman provides a wide-ranging and incisive survey of the politics and practice of translation in Wales, while Kirsti Bohata and Stephen Lovatt focus our attention on the fascinating Russian translation of Amy Dillwyn’s classic 1880 novel, The Rebecca Rioter. Almanac 16 reflects the sheer range and diversity of Welsh writing in English and seeks to stimulate, provoke and illuminate all readers interested in the literature of Wales.
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