The History of Wales in Twelve Poems

Author(s) M. Wynn Thomas

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism, Welsh Interest, History

  • September 2021 · 96 pages ·198x129mm

  • · Hardback - 9781786837660
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786837677
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786837684

About The Book

Down the centuries, poets have provided Wales with a window onto its own distinctive world. This book gives a sense of the view seen through that special window in twelve illustrated poems, each bringing very different periods and aspects of the Welsh past into focus. Together, they give the flavour of a poetic tradition, both ancient and modern, in the Welsh language and in English, that is internationally renowned for its distinction and continuing vibrancy.


‘I can think of no more deft and authoritative introduction to the literatures of Wales than this gem of a book … tracing a path through the riches of the tradition with flair, clarity and wit. This is a must-have guide for the curious and those new to the poetic panorama of Wales through the centuries.’
Gwyneth Lewis, National Poet of Wales 2005–6

‘With style, energy and sureness of touch … we are guided through the complex story of Welsh identity from Maelgwn Gwynedd to Mark Drakeford, weaving political and cultural themes together in a vivid tapestry. There are very few pages that do not offer fresh insights, even for those who know their Welsh history well. The poems chosen are an excellent mix of the expected and the unexpected.’
Rowan Williams, Former Master, Magdalene College, Cambridge

‘Attempting to chart a history of Wales through the prism of just twelve poems is both a risky and novel, if not unique, enterprise. It succeeds because the chosen poems are used as pegs for a concise and illuminating commentary not just on the poems themselves but on the period in which they were written … We are presented with a history viewed for the most part through the eyes of the vanquished, the disadvantaged and the underprivileged … words that could also be used to describe the history of the nation itself.’
-Barry Morgan, Former Archbishop of Wales


Acknowledgements Preface
Aneirin Y Gododdin (extract)
Anon. Pais Dinogad
Anon. Stafell Gynddylan (from Canu Heledd)
Gruffudd ab yr Ynad Coch Marwnad Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
Dafydd ap Gwilym Trafferth mewn tafarn
Henry Vaughan The World
Anon. Hen Benillion
Ann Griffiths (Dolwar Fach) Wele’n sefyll rhwng y myrtwydd
Gwenallt Y Meirwon
Dylan Thomas Fern Hill
Gillian Clarke Blodeuwedd
Menna Elfyn Siapau o Gymru

About the Author(s)

Author(s): M. Wynn Thomas

M. Wynn Thomas is Professor of English, and Emyr Humphreys Professor of Welsh Writing in English, at Swansea University.

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