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This report is taken from PN Review 173, Volume 33 Number 3, January - February 2007.

Letter from Wales Sam Adams

A couple of issues ago I mentioned the launch at the Hay Festival of the hundredth publication in the Writers of Wales series, Tony Brown's R.S. Thomas. The first monograph in the series was An Introduction to Anglo-Welsh Literature by Raymond Garlick. I remember my interest, indeed excitement, at its appearance in 1970. I was lecturing at what was then Caerleon College of Education and Garlick was similarly employed at Trinity College, Carmarthen. There he had pioneered teaching about the English-language literature of Wales, a topic outlawed in the University of Wales, where English departments held fast to syllabuses and set books that might have been handed down by Oxbridge with the same injunction to eternal observance as the Ten Commandments.

Anglo-Welsh literature was deemed aca demically unacceptable in part because it was seen to lack a history. In an influential public lecture in 1956, Professor Gwyn Jones had declared that the tradition in which, as a distinguished novelist and short story writer, he practised, began only in 1915, with the publication of Caradoc Evans's My People, a perverse and caustic vision, by turns horrifying and hilarious, of the manners and morals of rural west Wales. The school of writing that Caradoc led, the professor argued, could not exist until the more radical Anglicisation of Wales in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the school system that accompanied it, produced a population of educated English speakers - ...


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