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This report is taken from PN Review 232, Volume 43 Number 2, November - December 2016.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams
AT THE BEGINNING of the 1960s, in the absence of any formal interest on the part of university departments here in what has since become known as ‘Welsh writing in English’, it was left to Roland Mathias to cultivate an almost entirely neglected field. As editor of that quarterly doorstop The Anglo-Welsh Review, he led the way in writing carefully considered reviews of books by Welsh poets and authors and long editorials and critical articles that set the standard for later academic studies. His influence can be seen in the emulative efforts of Poetry Wales, founded in 1965 by Meic Stephens and edited by him. Stephens, too, sought to expand reviewing beyond scant notices of recent publications to close scrutiny and assessment, and in those special numbers of the magazine devoted to individual writers (Dylan Thomas, R.S. Thomas, David Jones), to which Mathias usually contributed, gave academic critics, like Jeremy Hooker and Anthony Conran, the opportunity to begin building a conspectus of the subject on scholarly lines. To their lasting shame, neither the then federal University of Wales, nor any of its constituent colleges, awarded Roland Mathias the honour he so richly deserved, but before the end of the century, the seeds he planted, nurtured by gifted scholars of the calibre of M Wynn Thomas, had established Welsh writing in English as a course of study available to students. The metamorphosis of Welsh Writing in English: A Yearbook of Critical Essays, which began appearing in 1995, to the International Journal of Welsh Writing in English ...

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