A Hundred Years of Fiction
Distributed for University of Wales Press
A Hundred Years of Fiction is the first book to explore and analyse the Anglophone fiction of Wales in the twentieth century. Stephen Knight looks at writers who deal with Welsh life and issues, ranging from Allen Raine to Christopher Meredith, and asks how they relate to the determining forces of their period and contexts, from the economy and politics to concepts of Welsh identity and the pressures of a colonial situation.
The book is in three sections. The first deals with colonial and touristic fiction from the late nineteenth century on, noting that some authors like 'Allen Raine’ and Margiad Evans, as well as delighting English readers with quaintness, also represented what they saw as the real values of Welsh social culture. Section two shows how writing about the industrial settlement broke with a colonized viewpoint and working-class authors like Jack Jones, Lewis Jones and Gwyn Thomas realized with verve and embattled anger the situation on the coalfield - though some, like Richard Llewellyn, reversed that pattern into industrial romance.
After the second world war, as section three describes, writers increasingly wrote about a Wales that sought self-sufficiency, and many of them, often Welsh-speaking like Emyr Humphreys, Menna Gallie, and Christopher Meredith, sought to integrate some of the native traditions with the English language culture in which they wrote. At the end of the twentieth century there is a surge of Welsh writers in English, often now published in Wales, women’s voices strong among them, who are aware both of the difficult circumstances in which they live and of their status as writers contributing to the self-awareness of an increasingly independent-minded country.
“ . . . an important and definitive work.” –www.gwales.com
“As the first critical study of twentieth-century English-language fiction from Wales, A Hundred Years of Fiction is an indispensable contribution to the field . . . one can but hope that an intelligent, well-argued study such as A Hundred Years of Fiction will inform opinion and provoke wider discussion of post-colonial Wales, at home and abroad.” –Planet