As of October 2018 the Library will share a number of additional items from its collections on Europeana, a European digital cultural platform. We are currently working with 12 other partner institutions on a project entitled ‘The Rise of Literacy’ which aims to explore the history of reading and writing in Europe. In this weekly blog – ‘Revealing the Objects‘, some of the Library’s contributions will be disclosed on a thematic basis.
Here’s a selection of plays that will be digitized as part of the project.
Twm o’r Nant (Thomas Edwards), Tri Chryfion Byd, 1789
Twm o’r Nant (pen name of Thomas Edwards) was a renowned interlude and play writer. This particular interlude, ‘Tri Chryfion Byd’ or ‘Three Pillars of the World’ was one of his most popular. Poverty, Love and Death, the three pillars, are personified by Twm o’r Nant, and all preach, narrate, advise and commentate during the course of this humorous and lively play. Like many of his other works this interlude includes social commentary.
R. J. Derfel, Brad y Llyfrau Gleision, 1854
R. J. Derfel was a poet, writer and socialist. His play ‘Brad y Llyfrau Gleision’ or ‘The Treachery of the Blue Books’ was a direct reaction to the criticisms presented in the 1847 ‘Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales’, also referred to as ‘The Blue Books’. Derfel portrays Wales as an extremely godly country in his play, which makes it an intolerable destination for the demons. These demons however are excepting of Welsh clergymen, a group that provided most of the evidence used in the 1847 reports. Many Welsh clergymen were accused, mostly by devoted Nonconformists, of betrayal during the inquiry. In the second act Beelzebub (prince of the demons) sends three spies to assess the state of the Welsh people, not dissimilar to the three deputies appointed to carry out the 1847 inquiry. The ‘treachery’ however is committed by the Church goers and clergymen. Many, including Derfel, thought that their evidence enhanced and even fed ‘The Blue Books’’ anti-Welsh judgements. The play was inspired by the tale of the “Treachery of the Long Knives”.
Beriah Gwynfe Evans, Chwareu-gan : drama yn null Shakespeare ar “Owain Glyndwr”, 1879
Beriah Gwynfe Evans was a journalist and dramatist. He wrote many a play, most of which were based on historic events and figures. His play ‘Owain Glyndwr’, was successful at the Llanberis eisteddfod; it broke new ground and arguably inspired a dramatic movement in Wales. A new version of the play was staged at Caernarvon in 1911 during the investiture of the Prince of Wales.
Idwal Jones, Pobl yr ymylon: drama bedair act, 1927
Idwal Jones was a schoolmaster, poet and dramatist. ‘Pobl yr ymylon’ is considered his most important work. This four act play explores the meaning of respectability and argues against some societal expectations.
Want to see more posts from this series? See below:
- Prose and Novels
- Religious Publications
- Poetry Volumes
- Expatriate Literature
- Children’s Literature
- Travel Books
- History Books
- Political and Radical Publications
- The Blue Book Reports
- Science and Mathematics
- Cookery and Lifestyle
Elen Hâf Jones – Digital Access Projects Officer
This post was created as part of the Europeana Rise of Literacy Project
This post is also available in: Welsh