Bicultural GeographiesNarrating Anglo-Welsh Identities in the Novels of Allen Raine

Authors Organisations
Type Paper
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventLiterary Topographies: Mapping Welsh writing in English: The Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference of the Association for Welsh Writing in English - Gregynog Hall, Newtown, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Duration: 22 Mar 201324 Mar 2013
https://www.awwe.org/conference-2013.html

Conference

ConferenceLiterary Topographies: Mapping Welsh writing in English
Abbreviated titleAWWE13
CountryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
CityNewtown
Period22 Mar 201324 Mar 2013
Internet address
Permanent link
View graph of relations
Citation formats

Abstract

Around the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century, Anne Adaliza Puddicombe (1836- 1908) from Newcastle Emlyn rose to international fame under her pseudonym Allen Raine as one of the four most widely published authors of her time. Even with her popularity, the predictability of her stories and idiosyncratic portrayal of rural characters attracted much disparaging criticism almost from the start. However, Raine’s strategic employment of geography as a narrative device for the portrayal of an inherently bicultural Victorian Wales has gone entirely unnoticed. Despite her focus on Ceredigion, the sum of Raine’s settings classify as border areas. In the first and most concrete category of border narratives, Raine explores the effects of national borders. Owing to her focus on the Anglicising effects on the gwerin, this border-crossing frequently relates, but is not limited to migration between a rural Wales and urban England. In the second type of dividing spaces, shore dwelling or lives spent on the sea draw attention to the geographical equivalents of social spaces as they represent means of inclusion into and exclusion from life in a community. In these instances, Raine uses naturally existing border features to convey the invisible and artificially created boundaries of society between a Welsh-speaking peasantry and the Anglophone gentry. The third border experience concerns the correlation between time and space. This category illustrates the conflicts that arise from crossing the invisible border between a rural Wales that signifies the connection of the gwerin to their quasi-mythological past and the urban, industrial, Anglicized Wales that represents the future of the national community and addresses the potential danger of losing one’s cultural heritage. Therefore, it can be argued that Raine counter-balances her formulaic plots and simplistic characters with a consistent relation of Anglo-Welsh identities to threshold geographies.

Keywords

  • Literature, Welsh writing in English, novel, Edwardian, Victorian, women's writing, emplotment, landscape writing, literary mapping, spatial turn, identity, bicultural identities