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The Taliesin Tradition

The Taliesin Tradition

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In The Taliesin Tradition Emyr Humphreys shows how literature in Wales has reshaped and reasserted Welsh identity in the face of English cultural imperialism.

Figures such as Taliesin, a sixth century poet, Myrddin (Merlin), the bards of medieval princes, Dr John Dee, Iolo Morganwg, Mabon, Lloyd George, Saunders Lewis have all redefined the image of Wales in their own historical periods.

Wales has been, in turn, a bastion of British Christianity, the basis of Tudor imperialism, a haven for the Romantics, a leader of Liberalism and Socialism, and the inspiration for twentieth century Welsh nationalism. Tracing the links in this chain Humphreys identifies a situation increasingly common in Europe and elsewhere: the preservation of a national past in the context of an international future. His book reflects the vital relationship between literature and identity, between poetry and politics.

"A classic book on national identity"
Bernard Crick

"A fascinating, often revelatory study which should be read by anyone claiming the least degree of Welshness, but which sheds unexpected light for the student of English history, too"

"It could hardly be done with more dignity and integrity... so rich in ideas"
Jan Morris

Emyr Humphreys is the author of twenty novels in English and Welsh, and has also published collections of stories and poetry. He has written screenplays and adapted other works for television and radio, in addition to producing and directing in both of those media. His novels have won the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year, Hawthornden and other prizes.