History of Wales

Ben Halligan B.Halligan at yorksj.ac.uk
Thu May 8 12:37:23 MDT 2003

Good introductions, from a contemporary point of view, could be
pleasurably gleaned from:

"Furious Interiors: R.S. Thomas, God and Wales"

Wide-ranging and very engagingly written biography of the great Welsh
poet. A strong point is that this is the work of an Englishman looking
on, with partial bafflement (and artistic envy), at a Welsh Nationalist
who seems completely un-Welsh.


"Our First Leader"

Travel writer Jan Morris reimagines Welsh history in this minor comic
masterpiece: Hitler offers a measure of independence to Wales at the end
of WWII - keenly accepted by an Oxbridge academic and "professional
Welshman", who then finds that the new nation state becomes a sweatshop
for the Third Reich. US "liberators" invade to free Wales by returning
it to Ba'athist (sorry, British) rule and the "First Leader" vanishes
into obscurity along with many other legends at the intersection of
Celtic myth and history. Jan's distance from Plaid's emancipatory
rhetoric serves her well. 


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