Jane Williams (Ysgafell)

Author(s) Gwyneth Tyson Roberts

Language: English

Genre(s): Welsh Interest

Series: Writers of Wales

  • March 2020 · 176 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786835635
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786835642
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786835659

About The Book

Jane Williams, under her bardic name Ysgafell, was a writer with a long and varied list of publications: poetry, fiction, a riposte to the 1847 Blue Books, the ‘autobiography’ of Betsi Cadwaladr, a history of Wales, a biography of the historian and patriot Carnhuanawc, and a history of women’s writing in English. In her writing and her life, she crossed and re-crossed boundaries – national, social, literary, linguistic and cultural – and carved out her own path. As a nineteenth-century woman whose writing career spanned fifty years and many genres, including serious non-fiction and texts in English on Wales and matters Welsh, Jane Williams is unique. This is the first full-length study of her life and work, comprising detailed original research from which the author has drawn a picture of a remarkable and impressive woman writer.


‘This elegantly written study is as engrossing as it is revealing of the life and impressive work of a sadly neglected woman writer of some importance in Welsh cultural history. Williams excelled as a redoubtable polemicist, a sophisticated biographer, a pioneering historian and a cunning ghost writer of Betsi Cadwaladr’s colourful memoirs.’
-Professor M. Wynn Thomas, Swansea University

‘Ysgafell has at last been granted what she deserves in this finely detailed and highly readable critical biography, which rescues from oblivion an accomplished and versatile writer, and rediscovers for a new generation of readers a markedly intelligent and unconventional Welsh Victorian.’
Emerita Professor Jane Aaron, University of South Wales

'This latest volume in the ‘Writers in Wales’ series gives us a brisk and readable account of Williams’ life but also pauses long enough to set her work in context, considering influences and opportunities while also highlighting some of her failings.'
- Review by Jon Gower, Nation.Cymru https://nation.cymru/culture/review-jane-williams-ysgafell-is-a-brisk-and-readable-account-of-an-unconventional-welsh-victorian/

‘Mae’r bywgraffiad darllenadwy hwn yn waith ysgolheigaidd sydd yn hawlio’i le ar silff lyfrau unrhyw un â diddordeb yn hanes Cymru’r 19g neu hanes marched, hyd at heddiw.’
– Gruffydd Penrhyn Jones, O’r Pedwar Gwynt Haf 2020


Chapter 1 - Becoming a Writer
Chapter 2 - Responses to the Blue Books
Chapter 3 - Varieties of Life Writing
Chapter 4 - Decisions and Directions
Chapter 5 -The Writing of History
Appendix 1
Appendix 2

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Gwyneth Tyson Roberts

Gwyneth Tyson Roberts is an independent scholar

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