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WELSH LITERARY HISTORY AND THE MAKING OF ‘THE MYVYRIAN ARCHAIOLOGY OF WALES’

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores a formative moment in the history of Welsh literature and philology: the publication, between 1801 and 1807, of three volumes of medieval Welsh-language texts known as the Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales. Now generally discredited as the product of misguided Romantic-era enthusiasm, the Myvyrian was a respected and respectable companion for writers and scholars in Wales and beyond during most of the nineteenth century, and it helped shape a vision of ‘Welshness’ still recognisable today. It repays closer scrutiny, both as a work of scholarship and for its contribution to incipient Welsh nationalism. Moreover, the story of its compilation by three very different men – a compelling mixture of endeavour, generosity and deviousness – is as much a part of Welsh literary history as the publication itself.

10.1163/9789401206471_009
/content/books/b9789401206471s009
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