William Owen Pughe and Romantic Rewritings of the Poetry of Llywarch Hen

Kaminski-Jones, Rhys (2021) William Owen Pughe and Romantic Rewritings of the Poetry of Llywarch Hen. The review of English studies. ISSN 1471-6968

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This article details the Romantic-era reception of mediaeval Welsh poetry ascribed to the bard Llywarch Hen, which was first translated and published by William Owen Pughe in the early 1790s. Llywarchian poetry, under-acknowledged by the anglophone critical tradition, is revealed as a significant overlooked source within Romantic-era bardic revivalism, in part thanks to Owen Pughe’s prominence in Romantic literary networks. Owen Pughe’s translations are positioned in relation to Macpherson’s Ossian, and interpreted as attempts to capitalize on the allure of Ossianic tropes whilst simultaneously placating anti-Ossianic scepticism. The article then goes on to examine the use of these translations in works by Robert Southey, Walter Scott, and Felicia Hemans, all of whose receptions of the material were mediated by Owen Pughe himself. Throughout, the ambivalence of critical and authorial pronouncements on the translations is contrasted with the evident fascination they elicited in Romantic authors, with this tension examined in relation to recent critical debates about authority and revivalist efficacy in Romantic literary antiquarianism. The article ends by using R. S. Thomas’s reception of Llywarch in the 1970s to connect Romantic and modern adaptations of this material, establishing a Llywarchian chain of influence in archipelagic British literature that deserves further critical engagement.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies
Depositing User: Lesley Cresswell
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2021 14:58
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2021 14:58
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1841

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