feminist press Honno:
is a Welsh feminist newspaper, which was established in 1986 by a group
on women in Wales. The aims of this newspaper was to publish books by
women, with genre range from fiction, poetry, children’s books
and autobiographical writing to reprints of classic titles in English
and Welsh. Janet Thomas is the English language titles translator, and
Gwenllïan Dafydd, is the Welsh language titles curator.
Gwerful Mechain, is the most famous female Welsh-language poet of the
Middle Age. She lived in Mechain, in Powys during the 1400s. Unfortunately
very little is known about her life, but she’s the author of many
important writing of her period. She wrote in the traditional strict
metres, and her subjects were often a celebration of religion and sex,
sometimes within the same poem. Today she is remembered for her most
famous part of her work, her erotic poetry “Cywydd y Cedor”
("Ode to the Pubic Hair), a poem praising the vulva. Therefore,
it is important to recognize that this is only one aspect of her work,
she also composed religious “Cywyddau” and vaticinatory
“Englynion” and was engaged in discourse poetry with poets
such as Dafydd Llwyd of Mathafarn, Ieuan Dyfi and Llywelyn ap Gutun.
Today some of her work is included in Dafydd Johnston, Medieval Welsh
Erotic Poetry (Seren, 1998).
Bardic tradition of strict metre verse:
early Welsh history, professional men of learning were organized in
caste system, under various descriptions: draio (the Gaelic equivalent
of 'druid'), fili, later file (poet-seer), breitheamh ('brehon', or
lawgiver) and seanchaidh (historian-antiquarian). These terms possibly
denoted various offices or duties of the highest orders in the professional
hierarchy. This two class distinctions, resulted in a strong system
of patronage for the filí while the lower levels of bards depended
on what they could earn on a daily basis, the bard occupied a lower
position. The filidh (plural of fili), were specialized in a particular
form of poetry, which was linked to the vestiges of pagan religion.
However, the bairds (plural of bard), had an honour-price only half
that of a fili, and could claim nothing on the grounds of his status
as a man of learning. The original function of the bard was to compose
eulogy, his craft, bairdne (bardic verse) contrasting with the filidecht
(sanchas poetry) of the fili. From about 1200 to 1650, the composers
of the fili class used a highly elaborate and subtle metric system and
a standard language (classical Gaelic). Poets were taught in schools,
and it is believed that the period of training was seven years. This
poetry comprises religious, love and Ossianic verse, which era known
in English as “Bardic verse” its composers called themselves
filidh, not baird; they knew that the word bard had connotations of
is one of the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom. It is
placed in the south-west of England. During the Roman occupation, the
area was divided into many tribes, of which the Silures in the south-east
and the Ordovices in the central and north-west areas were the largest
and most powerful. Today, there are a lot of beautiful building of this
roman period, for exemple, the legionary fortress at Caerleon (Isca),
whose magnificent amphitheatre is the best preserved in Britain. In
the 4th century, during the Roman occuoation, Christianity was introduced
in this land, and after the collapse of the Roman Empire, Wales was
divided into many kingdoms. In 1066, the country was conquered by Normans,
and only in 1282 the king of Normans, Edward I of England, defeated
Llywelyn the Last, Wales's last independent Prince. During this norman
occupation many castles were built to mantein Wales under control. The
best known are at Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy, and Harlech. In 1535,
King Henry VIII of England, essued the Laws in Wales Act 1535, with
whom wales was legally annexed to the England reign. In 20th century,
an indipendent movement was led by Plaid Cymru, seeking greater autonomy
for the region from England. In 1955, the term England and Wales became
common for describing the area to which English law applied, and Cardiff
was proclaimed as capital. In 1962 the Welsh Language Society was formed
in response to fears that the language may soon die out. Nationalism
grew and in the years leading up to the investiture of Prince Charles
as Prince of Wales in 1969, these groups were responsible for a number
of bomb blasts. In 1969, the Wales and Berwick Act 1746 was repealed
for Wales, and a legal definition of Wales, and the boundary with England
was stated. Today Wales is a bilingual country, the two official languages
are English and Welsh. English is spoken by almost all people in Wales,
but Welsh is also spoken by the 20.5% of the population. The Welsh Language
Act 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998, provide that the Welsh
and English languages should be treated on a basis of equality.
Canu Heledd (Heledd’s song):
Heledd's Lament, is probably the most famous of a set of poems written
by “Anonymous”, of the 9th century in Wales. The term heledd,
mean “salt pit” in welsh language, and it is a name that
speaks of a taste of tears and sorrow. Very little is known about Heledd,
we know only that she was one of nine sisters to Cynddylan ap Cyndrwyn
who also had twelve brothers. Cynddylan was known as "oppressor
of the Cadelling", the family of Cadell Ddernllwy, who was the
king of Powys. Cynddylan himself was King of Dogfeiling, and historical
accounts tell that Cynddylan probably helped his brother Eluan usurp
the Powys throne. Heledd’s poems are all in a woman voice, but
is debated whether they were actually written by a woman. In ancient
Wales there were not a lot of woman poet, but it is not impossible thst
Heledd herself may have been the author.
Here is Heledd's Lament, "Eagle of Pengwern", written for
her brother Cynddylan, mourning hisdeath and the destruction of their
of Pengwern, grey-crested, tonight
Its shriek is high,
Eager for the flesh I love.
of Pengwern, grey-crested, tonight
Its call is high,
Eager for Cynddylan's flesh.
of Pengwern, it called far tonight,
It kept watch on men's blood;
Trenn shall be called a luckless town.
of Pengwern, it calls far tonight,
It feasts on men's blood;
Trenn shall be called a shining town.
The term Non-conformist was used in England after the issue of the Act
of Uniformity, in 1662, to indicate an English subject belonging to
a non-Christian church or any non-Anglican church. The term is also
applied retrospectively to earlier English Protestants (such as Puritans)
who violated the Act of Uniformity 1559, typically by practicing or
advocating radical, sometimes separatist, dissent with respect to the
established church. There were a lot of congregations which were considered
Non-conformist like, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, at
the time of the 1662 Act of Uniformity. Later other groups formed they
were also considered nonconformists. These included Methodists, Quakers,
Unitarians, and members of the Salvation Army, Calvinistic Methodist
Church, Protestant Christian denomination, closely allied to Presbyterianism,
which originated in Wales between 1735-36 with the evangelistic preaching
of Howell Harris, Daniel Rowlands, and others. The Welsh Calvinistic
Methodists also held their own vigorously and grew in numbers; Thomas
Charles of Bala a leader of wide influence in religious and educational
work. In 1811 they separated from the Established Church and set up
a new church, Presbyterian in polity. Later, theological schools were
founded at Bala and at Trevecca, and the church was formally guaranteed
autonomy in 1933.
This old chapel in Llanvaches was built on the site of the first Nonconformist
outpost in Wales. The original building was established in 1639, as
a Congregationalist chapel. The first Welsh Baptist chapel was at Ilston
in Glamorgan and dates from 1649. The 1660 restoration of the monarchy
in England was followed by religious intolerance and a severe regime
lasted until the 1689 Toleration Act. The Quaker was another Non-conformist
movement, established in 1668 and several writers have pointed out that
Quakerism had an appeal to the Welsh landowning class of the time.
This woman is regarded as one of the most important female figures in
the history off Welsh literature. She lived during the 18th century
religious revival in Wales, and is remembered for her literary production
composed by Hymns and letters. She was born in 1776 at Dolwar-fach near
Meifod in a farmhouse called Dolwar Fach. Her mother died when she was
only 17 years old, and she took over the domestic running of the farm.
Although she was brought up in the Anglican Church, Ann followed her
brother to the Methodist movement after hearing the Rev. Benjamin Jones
of Pwllheli preach in Llanfyllin in 1796. Dolwar Fach, in fact, in 1798
had become one of the main Methodist preaching centres and was officially
declared as a place of worship in 1803. Ann married Thomas Griffiths,
a farmer from the parish of Meifod and a Methodist Elder, and they made
their home at Dolwar-fach in the parish of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa,
Montgomeryshire. They had also a daugther in july 1805, but she died
two week later her birth. Ann herself died shortly afterwards, in 1805
when she was only 29 years old and was buried on 12 August 1805 at Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa.
Her literary production includes 70 hymns and eight letters all showing
her vision and her awareness of the human and spiritual experience.
Of the eight letters that have survived, seven are copies of letters
sent to leading Methodist preacher John Hughes of Pontrobert between
1800 and 1804, the eighth is from the same period but is the only surviving
letter written by Ann herself. Among the finest and best known of her
hymns are "Er mai cwbl groes I nature..", " O! am gael
ffydd I edrych...", "Dymer baball y cyfamod...", and
"Wele'n sefyll rhwng y myrtwydd...". Her longest hymn, "Rhyfedd,
rhyfedd gan angylion..", has been described as one of the greatest
religious poems in any European language.
Felicia Dorothea Hemans was an important British poet. She was born
in Liverpool, her father's business soon brought the family to Denbighshire
in North Wales, where she spent her youth. Her first poems, dedicated
to the Prince of Wales, were published in Liverpool in 1808, when she
was only fifteen, and attracted the attention of Percy Bysshe Shelley.
In 1812 she published "The domestic affections", and in this
same year she married to Captain Alfred Hemans, an Irish army officer
some years older than herself. They had five sons, but in six years
they separated. Marriage had not, however, prevented her from continuing
her literary career, with several volumes of poetry being published
in the period after 1816. In 1819 was published "Tales and historic
scenes”, and later she composed an elegy to Princess Charlotte
Augusta of Wales, daughter and sole heir of the Prince of Wales, who
had died in childbirth in 1817. In 1819, she won a competition for a
poem on a Scottish historical theme, and this gained her the appreciation
of the Scottish public. She produced also "The Vespers of Palermo".
Afterwards, she wrote regularly for the Edinburgh Review. Another collection
of poems, "Welsh melodies", included translations of Welsh
poems, evidence that Felicia Hemans had a certain amount of knowledge
of the language. In 1825, her brother got married and she with her son,
was forced to move to Rhyllon, another house only a short distance away,
from the latter. Two years later, her mother died and she visited the
Lake district, where she worked with Wordsworth. From 1831 onwards,
she lived in Dublin, where her younger brother had settled, and her
poetic output continued. Her major collections, including "The
forest sanctuary" (1825), "Records of woman" and "Songs
of the affections" (1830) were immensely popular, especially with
female readers. In this period she was a well-known literary figure.
When she died of dropsy, in 1835, Wordsworth composed memorial verses
in her honour. Felicia Hemans is now remembered chiefly for her poem,
Germaine Greer is an Australian academic writer who is regarded as one
of the most significant femenist voice of the 20th century. Recently
retired as professor of English literature at the University of Warwick
in England, and the author of several highly acclaimed books, like “The
Female Eunuch” which became an international bestseller when it
was published in 1970. She was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1939,
growing up in the bayside suburb of Mentone. After attending a convent,
Star of the Sea College, in Melbourne, she won a teaching scholarship
in 1956 and enrolled at the University of Melbourne, where she graduated.
Than, the moved to Sydney, where she became involved with the Sydney
Push, a group of intellectual left-wing anarchists who practised non-monogamy.
Using the nom de plume Rose Blight, she wrote a gardening column for
the satirical magazine Private Eye, and as Dr. G, became a regular contributor
to the underground London OZ magazine. In 1968, she married an Australian
journalist Paul du Feu, but the marriage lasted only three weeks, and
ended in divorce in 1973. Following her 1970 success with “The
Female Eunuch”, in 1972 she visited many city in the world to
promote her book. Afterwards she brought a house in Italy, wrote a column
for The Sunday Times, then spent the next few years traveling through
Africa and Asia.
University of Wales:
The University of Wales enjoys a distinctive identity as a federal University.
It is the degree-awarding authority for its member institutions and
exists to support their academic activities. The University enjoys close
links with other higher education institutions in Wales and across the
UK, and it is an important awarding body for institutions overseas.
The University of Wales is committed to helping fulfil the educational
and economic needs of Wales and to supporting its linguistic, cultural
and national heritage. The University was founded on 30 November 1893
and John Viriamu Jones was the first Principal of the University College
in Cardiff. The University that was the product of the vastly increased
need for educational opportunity, brought together three existing Colleges:
the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth which was opened 1872,
the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, opened in 1883,
and the University College of North Wales, in Bangor, opened in 1884.
Dr Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan is a specialist in Welsh manuscripts, scribal
activity and visual image, and she work at the National library of Wales.
Her interests are also on research and publication of medieval translations/adaptations
and continental influence on Welsh literary tradition as well as Welsh
Arthurian traditions. Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan is now Head of Manuscripts
Unit, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
Cywydd, or Cywydd deuair hirion, is one of the important the most importantmetrical
element in Welsh traditional poetry. It was the favourite meter of the
Poets of the Nobility, the poets working from the fourteenth to the
seventeenth centuries, and it is still used today.Cywydd consists of
a series of seven-syllabled lines in rhyming couplets, with all lines
written in cynghanedd. One of the lines must finish with a stressed
syllable, while the other must finish with an unstressed syllable.
Telyn Egryn is the first ever printed book by a woman in Welsh. It is
a collection of poetry and it was first published in 1850. Very little
is known about the history of Elen Egryn, we know that she brught up
in a little village called Llanegryn, near Tywyn, in Meirionethshire.
She lived and worked in Liverpool, before returning to live in Machynlleth.
As was characteristic of most Welsh women writers of the time, Elen
Egryn lacked the confidence and the support needed to become as successful
and well-known as their male counterparts, but this volume is a very
significant milestone in the history of Welsh women's literature.
National Library of Wales:
The national library of Wales is located in Aberystwyth, and it is a
legal deposit library entitled to receive a copy of every published
work from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland and houses over
4 million printed volumes. It includes the first book printed in Welsh
in 1546 “Yny lhyvyr hwnn” , the first complete translation
of the Bible which dates 1588, and many other rare books. The Library
also contains The Welsh Political Archive and The National Screen and
Sound Archive of Wales, and it also keeps maps, , photographs, paintings,
and periodicals and newspapers. Recently many of the most important
books have been digitalized and they are now available to view on the
Dafydd ap Gwilym:
Dafydd ap Gwilym is considered the most important Welsh poet of the
history of wales and amongst the great poets of Europe in the Middle
Age. It is believed that he was born at Brogynin, Penrhyn-coch, Ceredigion.
His father, Gwilym Gam, and mother, Ardudfyl, were both from noble families,
and traditions tells that he died in 1350, a possible victim of the
Black Death, and he was buried within the precinct of the Cistercian
Strata Florida Abbey, Ceredigion. About one hundred and fifty of his
poems have survived, and his principles themes were love and nature.
He was an innovative poet who was responsible for popularising the metre
known as "cywydd" and first to use it for praise. His poetry
was probably influenced by ideas of courtly love of the troubador poetry
of Provençal. He was always the subject of his poetry which is
full of his own feelings and experiences. His main theme is love, and
many of his poems are addressed to women, but particularly to two of
them, Morfudd and Dyddgu. Amongst his major poems there are “Morfudd
fel yr haul” (Morfudd like the sun), a poem to the wife of an
Aberystwyth merchant that seems to have had a long affair with Dafydd,
and whom he addressed in many poems; “Merched Llanbadarn”
(The girls of Llanbadarn), “Trafferth mewn tafarn” (Trouble
in a tavern) and “Cywydd y ga”l (A poem in praise of the
penis), a risqué piece of pure medieval erotica.
Stephen Knight was born on September 26th, 1951, at Hainault, Essex.
He attended West Hatch Technical High School, at nearby Chigwell. Among
his most known works there are “The Brotherhood” and “Jack
the Ripper: The Final Solution”. Stephen Knight also wrote the
books “Cruelly Murdered”, “Requiem at Rogano”
and “The Killing of Justice Godfrey”. He struggled with
epilepsy for much of his life and was discovered to have a brain tumour
in 1980 while taking part in the documentary TV programme Horizon. The
tumour was removed but returned in 1984. Knight died in 1985.