Rhys Davies: Decoding the Hare : Critical Essays to Mark the Centenary of the Writer's Birth

Rhys Davies: Decoding the Hare : Critical Essays to Mark the Centenary of the Writer's Birth

Rhys Davies: Decoding the Hare : Critical Essays to Mark the Centenary of the Writer's Birth

Rhys Davies: Decoding the Hare : Critical Essays to Mark the Centenary of the Writer's Birth

Synopsis

Rhys Davies is regarded as one of the most accomplished Welsh prose-writers in English. This text contains essays on aspects of his life & work, from the literary, social & national contexts in which he wrote, to gender issues, sexuality & race.

Excerpt

Meic Stephens

Rhys Davies was among the most dedicated, prolific, and accomplished of Welsh prose-writers. He practised his craft with unswerving devotion for some fifty years, publishing nineteen novels, three novellas, about a hundred short stories, an autobiography, and two books about Wales. Apart from a stint as a draper’s assistant on first arriving in London and some compulsory war-work as a civilian at the Ministry of Information, he lived almost entirely by his pen, his income unsupplemented by teaching, journalism, broadcasting or any of the other activities to which writers usually have recourse. If he has for long been considered a master of the short-story form, his novels, though out of print, are also now regarded as among the best ever written by a Welsh writer in English and are due for critical reassessment. This collection of essays, published to mark the centenary of his birth, places Rhys Davies in his social and literary context and examines some of the main themes in his writing.

Most of Rhys Davies’s stories and novels are set in his native Wales, whether in an unspecified but easily recognizable Rhondda, grimly proletarian, or else in fondly idealized rural parts further west, and despite the fact that he left home for London as a very young man, it was to those landscapes that he most often returned in his imagination. Some of his later works have characters and social milieux which are unmistakably English and middle-class, and some are set in France and Germany. Nevertheless, ‘There is only one abiding classic,’ he wrote in the magazine Wales in October 1943: ‘Wales.’

On the other hand, his long residence in England, and his refusal to be associated with any literary school or movement, even to consider himself an ‘Anglo-Welsh’ writer, was to set him apart from that first generation of Welsh writers in English who came to prominence in the 1920s and 1930s. He was, for a start, unconcerned in his writing with political or social questions, though he claimed to have had a . . .

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