Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This review is taken from PN Review 26, Volume 8 Number 6, July - August 1982.

CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE Douglas Phillips, Sir Lewis Morris (Writers of Wales series, University of Wales Press) £2.50

                 Only daft Ianto
Is left to recite the Complete Works of Sir Lewis Morris
To puzzled sheep, before throwing himself over
The edge of the abandoned quarry.
         (Harri Webb, 'Synopsis of the Great Welsh Novel')

I have read Harri Webb's poem many times without ever being sufficiently curious to wonder at this allusion to Sir Lewis Morris, far less address myself to the Complete Works, published, incidentally, in 1907. The lines suggest that only the suicidally daft would bother. Yet Morris was, after Tennyson, the most popular poet of the last two decades or so of the nineteenth century. What happened to those untold thousands of books? Perhaps they fired the boilers of locomotives and warships in the great age of steam.

Morris was born in Carmarthen in 1833. His father was a lawyer, his mother the daughter of a local shipowner and merchant. It was a prosperous family. He was educated at Carmarthen, Cowbridge Grammar School and Sherborne, whence he. won an honorary scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford. There he became the first undergraduate in thirty years to gain a first in classical greats. He proceeded to Lincoln's Inn and was called to the bar in 1861. Instead of practising as a barrister, however, he became a conveyancing counsel in London, and for relaxation he joined 'The Pen and Pencil Club', a writers' circle in Notting Hill. The diffidence which characterised his professional life carried over ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image