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This report is taken from PN Review 146, Volume 28 Number 6, July - August 2002.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

I cannot remember what institutions I listed on my university application form. I know only that Aberystwyth was at the top, one of the few deliberate choices of my life. I had fallen under the influence of a dynamic young teacher freshly graduated from the geography department there, and wanted nothing more than to put what brain I possessed at the disposal of Professor E.G. Bowen and his colleagues at the University College of Wales. Professor Bowen was a brilliant geographer and a remarkable man. He did a great deal of public speaking, in Welsh and English, to audiences of all kinds and earned the reputation of being able to hold forth, cogently, on any topic at virtually no notice. In the 1950s, the academic excellence of the geography department at Aber was already well known. It attracted students from all over the UK, in large numbers; in the first year you had to fight for a seat in 'The Barn', the largest lecture space available at the time. Professor Bowen built the department by recruiting to the staff his own star students. Among them was Harold Carter, who eventually became head of department, and who, now retired, caused the editorial columnist of the Western Mail a little while ago to wag his head sadly and deprecatingly over a statement the professor made to the National Assembly's Culture Committee about the cultural significance to Wales of the Welsh language.

The journalist's sad disapproval was somewhat marred by ...


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