“For those who do not know”:The Translation, Transmission and Reception of Saunders Lewis in English

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Welsh Writing in English
Volume1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2017
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Abstract

The work of the dramatist, politician and critic Saunders Lewis has elicited more interpretation in English than that of any other Welsh-language writer. This essay traces Lewis’s dissemination for an English-language readership from the 1940s until the present under three broadly chronological headings. Initially lionised, Lewis was adopted until the 1970s as a magus figure in both nationalism and the language movement. By the late 1970s, however, his conservative politics, including accusations of anti-Semitism and what was perceived as a less than enlightened attitude towards women and the urban working classes, saw him fall into disfavour. The essay concludes with the assertion that Lewis now occupies two discursive territories: as a man of faith removed from temporal concerns and, more tellingly, as a paradigm for Welsh writers in English from David Jones to Emyr Humphreys and R.S. Thomas.