Edward Thomas and World Literary Studies

Edward Thomas and World Literary Studies: Wales, Anglocentrism and English Literature

Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    Edward Thomas and World Literary Studies
    Book Description:

    Edward Thomas and World Literary Studies uses cutting-edge models of ‘world literature’ to present the ‘quintessentially English’ writer, Edward Thomas, as a pioneering figure in an Anglophone Welsh literary tradition, a controversial reading that contributes to the present-day reconfiguration of cultural relations between Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2623-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. General Editor’s Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    M. Wynn Thomas
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-26)

    The three million inhabitants of Wales are the inheritors of two principal literary traditions. One is the expression of a modern culture in a Celtic language, a literature central to Welsh national identity, whose writers have, since the sixth century, repeatedly reinvented their tradition to meet changing historical conditions. The other, Anglophone, tradition has emerged more recently, and has already produced a body of literature distinctive from, indeed foreign to, its English counterpart. Its writers include Dylan Thomas, one of the most translated English-language poets of the twentieth century, as well as Raymond Williams, the most influential British critic and...

  7. 1 World Literary Studies and Britain
    (pp. 27-45)

    This chapter will briefly summarise Casanova’s theory of world literary space, in so far as it is relevant to this book, and as it is laid out in her 2004 English-language publicationThe World Republic of Letters. Analysis of her project will then follow, identifying three unresolved contradictions in her work that can be used to challenge the premises on which her idea of international literary space is based: her notion of ‘pure criticism’, her under-used concept of ‘literary capital’ and her invention of an ‘Irish para digm’. The chapter will conclude with some modifications to Casanova’s set of ideas,...

  8. 2 The Reception of Edward Thomas
    (pp. 46-77)

    In the last chapter, I suggested three major modifications to Casanova’s structure of world literature and proposed a critical approach that incorporates these changes. My revised model begins, firstly, by examining how critics from within the dominated nation receive the writer concerned, focusing a more sceptical eye on the benefits of ‘pure criticism’. It goes on to consider how an author from a dominated nation is recognised by the authorities in a literary centre, and whether this reception develops the literary space of the dominated nation. Secondly, it makes use of the notion of ‘literary capital’ within the context of...

  9. 3 Welsh Literatures in their Political and Economic Contexts
    (pp. 78-108)

    In the last chapter, I addressed the first of my alterations to Casanova’s model, arguing that critics of Thomas have failed to recover him for Anglophone Welsh literature, while others have successfully claimed him for an Anglocentric British tradition. My findings challenge the premise of Casanova’s model that the ‘pure criticism’ of the authorities at the literary centres helps writers from dominated nations to gain recognition. Instead, they suggest a more complicated picture in which ostensibly ‘pure criticism’, carried out both within the dominated nation and from the literary centre, marginalises the importance of the nation to the way the...

  10. 4 Edward Thomas and the Welsh Cultural Tradition
    (pp. 109-138)

    In the previous chapter, I set turn-of-the-century Welsh literature in its economic and political spheres, a modification to Casanova’s model that I proposed at the end of Chapter One. This enabled me to locate Thomas in relation to some of the key Welsh literary and political figures and issues of the period. Without such an analysis of the local historical con text, many of Thomas’s connections to Welsh journals and figures would not have been uncovered. In this chapter, I examine further the literary manifestation of Thomas’s Welshness by considering his work through stage one of Casanova’s ‘Irish paradigm’ – the...

  11. 5 Edward Thomas and English ‘as a foreign tongue’
    (pp. 139-163)

    The previous chapter, which built on the modifications to Casanova’s theory proposed in Chapter One, looked at Thomas through the prism of stage one of Casanova’s ‘Irish paradigm’, showing the extent of his use of material from the Welsh cultural tradition. Another modification to Casanova’s model, also suggested in Chapter One, amended her ‘Irish paradigm’ so as make it less deterministic in its use of history. That allowed her model to be more loosely applied by dispensing with the need to confine a writer to one of its stages alone, and indeed replacing the pre supposition of a chronology inherent...

  12. 6 Edward Thomas and England’s Failed Locales
    (pp. 164-188)

    It is Walter de la mare who describes Thomas’s work as ‘a mirror of England’, and Andrew Motion who writes of the ‘specifically English’ context of his poetry, impressions that the last two chapters have complicated. Nonetheless, there is a sense in which Thomas is not simply Welsh but chooses an English identity. Kirsti Bohata suggests that ‘an obvious way to avoid the inferiority attached to Welshness was to become English – a solution denied to most subjects of the British Empire’ (PR, p. 132), yet one available to Thomas as an English-speaking Welshman brought up in London, and educated at...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 189-203)
  14. Works Cited
    (pp. 204-214)
  15. Index
    (pp. 215-222)