Owen Wynne Jones, also known as Glasynys (1828-1870) was a school-teacher, and clergyman, an editor and poet, and an influential figure in the eisteddfod movement. But he was a also a folklorist and short-story writer, whose contributions to the Welsh anthology, Cymru Fu (1864), influenced T. Gwynn Jones among others, and now, in this new translation by Rob Mimpriss, a body of his work is available to English readers.
Combining horror, romance, humour and adventure with his own moving descriptions of the hospitality and generosity of ordinary people, these stories provide an account of a way of life now vanished, and a glimpse into the extraordinary richness of the Welsh oral tradition.
Lazarus and His Sisters by Morgan Llwyd
Morgan Llwyd (1619-1659), the nephew of a professional soldier and magician, was a Roundhead, a millenialist, a chaplain in the army of Oliver Cromwell, and later a civil servant of the commonwealth in Wales.
His Welsh-language writings, grounded in Puritan theology, yet enriched by his mysticism and esotericism, are considered masterpieces of imagery and cadence, among the best prose ever written in Welsh. His three English-language essays, first published in 1655 and collected here, display the depth and richness of his religious thought, and his passionate engagement in the tumultuous events of his day.
My Neighbours by Caradoc Evans
‘Our God is a big man: a tall man much higher than the highest chapel in Wales and broader than the broadest chapel. For the promised day that He comes to deliver us a sermon we shall have made a hole in the roof and taken down a wall. Our God has a long, white beard, and he is not unlike the Father Christmas of picture-books. Often he lies on his stomach on Heaven’s floor, an eye at one of his myriads of peepholes, watching that we keep his laws. Our God wears a frock coat, a starched linen collar and black necktie, and a silk hat, and on the Sabbath he preaches to the congregation of Heaven.’
Set in west Wales and among the Welsh of London, and written in the Biblical cadence which had made its author famous, Caradoc Evans’s third collection castigates the ignorance, greed and hypocrisy of his people.