J.O. Francis, Realist Drama and Ethics

Culture, Place and Nation

Author(s) Alyce von Rothkirch

Language: English

Genre(s): Biography

Series: Writing Wales in English

  • June 2014 · 256 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781783160709
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781783160716
  • · eBook - epub - 9781783162024

About The Book

This book introduces the reader to the work of the neglected Welsh dramatist J.O. Francis, a major figure in the amateur dramatic circles in Wales in the early 20th century. The book argues that Francis's work displays a particular ethical response to Wales, which aims for a realistic depiction of the nation without subscribing to widely available stereotypes. Francis's work has been foundational for drama-writing in the 20th and the 21st century and is here for the first time analysed in its context of Welsh amateur drama.


‘This impressive, stimulating appraisal of the work of J. O. Francis explores his central contribution to the development of a vigorous amateur theatre movement in Wales between 1914 and 1950, itself a key factor in the creation of a new national identity. Critical theory is deftly combined with clear-sighted analysis of the works in their cultural and theatrical contexts. This is a pioneering and significant volume in the study of Welsh drama and performance.’
–Professor Hazel Walford Davies


J. O. Francis and a Welsh Ethics of Place
J. O. Francis’s Life
Cultural Background, Themes and Ideas
J. O. Francis and the Land Ethic
Chapter 1: A Son of Wales Enters the Stage
Chapter 2: J. O. Francis and Amateur Theatre in Wales, 1920-1940
The Ethics of Amateur Theatre
Amateur Drama in Wales
Amateur Competitions
Chapter 3: Place, Politics and the Possibilities of Realism
Change (1912)
Cross-Currents (19220
The Beaten Track (1924)
Howell of Gwent (1932)
The Devouring Fire (1953?)
Chapter 4: Poachers in Little Villages
The One-Act Play “of Welsh life”
The Poacher (1912)
The Dark Little People (1922)
Tares in the Wheat (1942) and The Sheep and the Goats (1951?)
The Bakehouse (1912) and The Sewing Guild (1943)
Little Village (1928)
Chapter 5: A Pilgrim to St David’s
First Journey: London – Newport – Cardiff – Rhondda
Second Journey: London – Brecon – Llanidloes – Aberdovey – Aberystwyth
Third Journey: Into the Heart of the Nation

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Alyce von Rothkirch

Dr Alyce von Rothkirch is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Adult Continuing Education at Swansea University.

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