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Anglo-Welsh literature

Anglo-Welsh literature is a term used to describe works written in the English language by Welsh writers, especially if they either have subject matter relating to Wales or (as in the case of Anglo-Welsh poetry in particular) are influenced by the Welsh language in terms of patterns of usage or syntax. It has been recognised as a distinctive entity only since the 20th century. The need for a separate identity for this kind of writing arose because of the parallel development of modern Welsh literature, ie. literature in the Welsh language. Many distinguished literary figures, such as Saunders Lewis, have written in both languages.

The best known Anglo-Welsh poet is Dylan Thomas, followed by Ronald Stuart Thomas. Poets such as Robert Graves can be regarded as Anglo-Welsh, insofar as they write about or in Wales, even though they may not have Welsh blood.

Anglo-Welsh novelists include Richard Llewellyn and Jack Jones. Their usage of language marks them out from writers of "standard" English, as demonstrated in the following extracts:

My father moved his head, and I looked down at him, sideways to me, and tried to think what I could do to ease him, only for him to have a breath.

(from How Green was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn)

A Shoni-Onion Breton man, with a beret and a necklace of onions, bicycled down the road and stopped at the door. "Quelle un grand matin, monsieur," I said. "There's French, boy bach!" he said.

(from The Outing by Dylan Thomas)

Her sweetheart was a bank clerk from Henblas who used to cycle to Rhydfelen every Sunday afternoon to have tea with her. His name was Gareth Vaughan, and he was hard-working, religious, and bound, people said, to get on. His father, working at the same bank, had got on, so that he was under-manager when he died, and had left his widow with a house and a good annuity.

(from A Small Country (1979) by Sian James)

My being has never edged more than a few inscrutable inches from the kitchen of the house where I lived as a boy, a teeming and tempestuous place, cocoon of myths and spinning absurdities. From its seemingly always open door we had a mountain in full view.

(from A Few Selected Exits (1968) by Gwyn Thomas)



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