Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose

By Meic Stephens | Go to book overview

Notes on Authors and Texts

These notes are intended for readers who have only a little knowledge of the history, language, and literature of Wales. Further biographical and bibliographical details will be found in The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales (ed. Meic Stephens, 1986, 1990); see also the monographs in the Writers of Wales series (eds. Meic Stephens and R. Brinley Jones).

Owen Morgan Edwards ( 1858-1920), one of the pioneers of modern Welsh prose, was born and brought up at Coed-y-pry, a small farmhouse near Lianuwchllyn in Merioneth. Educated at the U.C.W., Aberystwyth, and at Balliol College, Oxford, he was appointed Fellow and Tutor in History at Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1889. Returning to Wales in 1907 as Chief Inspector of Schools, he lived for the rest of his life in his home village. He devoted his immense energies to the fostering of education through the medium of Welsh and, in all his many writings, encouraged the people of Wales to learn about their country's history and literature. His description of the village school, and the infamous practice of the Welsh Not which flourished in many parts of Wales during the latter part of the nineteenth century, is taken from the opening chapter of his autobiography, Clych Atgof ( 1906).

1
Sunday Schools, founded in Wales during the last decade of the eighteenth century, were primarily intended for the religious instruction of the common people. Under the leadership of Thomas Charles ( 1755-1814), they spread rapidly, especially among the Methodists. Attended by young and old, male and female, the schools were largely responsible for ensuring that Nonconformist congregations became literate in the Welsh language and thus equipped to read the Bible.
2
The first verse of a hymn by Morgan Rhys ( 1716-74).

-217-

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Illuminations: An Anthology of Welsh Short Prose
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • The Village School 1
  • Fear of the Sea 7
  • A Windy Night 9
  • The Late Lemuel Parry, Esq., J.P., O.B.E. 12
  • On Drowning a Cat 18
  • The House Across the Way 21
  • Weobley and St. Emilion 25
  • The Man in the Street 28
  • Old Dent 31
  • On Collecting Roads 34
  • 'their Land They Shall Lose' 42
  • The Red Flag 46
  • Strolling Players 50
  • One Sunday Afternoon 57
  • Salem 61
  • A Trip to the Circus 63
  • Thoughts on Coronation Day, 1953 68
  • From the Pulpit 72
  • How to Choose and Treat a Wife 77
  • To the Mountain 83
  • The Imperative Upon Me 88
  • Disenchantment 92
  • The Hiring Fair 94
  • The Man at Chapel House 97
  • Question and Answer 102
  • The Little Llandeilo Boots 105
  • My Last Day in Prison 108
  • A Discovery 118
  • A Land of Romance 121
  • Hi-Ho! 129
  • Ancestors 133
  • While Shaving 138
  • Of Time and Distance 141
  • A Methodist Deacon's Advice 146
  • Of Violets and Bells 148
  • Remembering Mrs Newbould 151
  • Good Morning, Lloyd 156
  • In Modesty and Trembling 162
  • Christmasn in the Valley 166
  • On Stammering 169
  • Butlins 172
  • A Millionaire 176
  • A Scene from Military Life 178
  • An Exile 180
  • The Fox Under Glass 183
  • A Doctor's Medicine 186
  • The Little Huts 189
  • Three Heads 191
  • On Memory 198
  • Uncle John's Boots 202
  • The Fur Coat 207
  • An Holy Kiss 214
  • Notes on Authors and Texts 217
  • Acknowledgements 238
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