Added on: 03/06/2020 Publish Date: 2017 973

The early response to Williams Pantycelyn by Saunders Lewis


Saunders Lewis’ Williams Pantycelyn (1927) was the most exciting and controversial work of literary criticism to appear in twentieth century Welsh letters. In ten memorable and often brilliant chapters, Lewis analysed the work of the eighteenth century hymnist not according to the usual Protestant norms but in terms of medieval Catholic mysticism on the one hand and the then novel Freudian and Jungian psychology on the other. The book caused a literary and critical storm. Among those who affirmed its counterintuitive nature was the poet T. Gwynn Jones; its thesis was rejected by the philosopher E. Keri Evans while the preacher-poet Moelwyn Hughes found the volume objectionable in the extreme. Such was the power of Lewis’ analysis, however, that for more than a generation it came to embody a new orthodoxy in the scholarly understanding of William Williams. It was not until the 1960s that this orthodoxy began to be overturned. The accompanying essay describes how this process evolved.

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Collection Level
Higher Education
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History, Religious Studies
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Coleg Cymraeg Resource 'Gwerddon' article
mân-lun cyfrol gwerddon 24

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