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This review is taken from PN Review 28, Volume 9 Number 2, November - December 1982.

PORTRAIT GALLERY Glyn Jones and John Rowlands, Profiles: a visitor's guide to writing in twentieth-century Wales (Gomer Press) £9.95

The literatures of Wales are rarely afforded the attention they merit even by the public and media in Wales. Apart from a sprinkling of academics who have cultivated the Celts, extending an esoteric, antiquarian interest gradually in the direction of the contemporary representatives of the Brythonic branch of that people and their culture, very few outside Wales have the slightest notion of writing in Welsh, where writing in English from Wales (unless it happens to be that of Dylan or R. S. Thomas-who are not related; we have a surname problem) is almost totally ignored. This neglect is the reiterated theme of a few champions of literary Wales, but since their words reach only a small readership inside Wales, the effect is rather like that of striking a match in a Marabar cave-a plaintive 'bou-oum' reverberating briefly in an enclosed space. Welsh and Anglo-Welsh literature are in the zone of shadow cast by English. This much is understandable, if regrettable, and there can be no change while marketing and distribution of books published in Wales, and translation of work written in Welsh, remain inadequate, and reviewing by the London quality press exceedingly rare. What the literatures of Wales lack above all is continuous assessment from outside and this cannot be provided so long as ignorance of the existence of major twentieth-century Welsh-language writers, like Saunders Lewis and Thomas Parry-Williams, and of younger Anglo-Welsh poets like Robert Minhinnick and John Davies persists.

Inasmuch as it aspires to be ...


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