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 religious publications that will be digitized or contributed as part of the project.
Gruffydd Robert – Y Drych Cristianogawl, 1585
During parts of the sixteenth century Roman Catholic printing was prohibited in Wales, and as a result, most Catholic works were distributed in manuscript form. ‘Y Drych Cristianogawl’ was amongst two Welsh Catholic publications that found their way into print during that time. These publications were successfully formed through secret presses and the first part of ‘Y Drych Cristianogawl’ was printed by Roger Thackwell in Rhiwledin cave, on the Little Orme, near Llandudno in early 1587. The latter parts were not printed due to government intervention; however they have survived in manuscript form.
William Morgan – Y Beibl cyssegr-lan sef Yr Hen Destament, a’r Newydd, 1588
Y Beibl cyssegr-lan sef Yr Hen Destament, a’r Newydd’ by William Morgan, was the first whole translated version of the Bible to appear in Welsh. It took some years for the work to be completed in printed form; between the Act of Parliament of 1563 and its publication in 1588. Morgan was a Cambridge graduate and later became bishop of Llandaf and St Asaph. He based his translation on the Hebrew and Greek original Bibles, consulting also the English Bishops’ and Geneva versions. ‘Y Beibl cyssegr-lan’ included original translations as well as adaptations of Salesbury’s New Testament. No other Welsh book has been as influential for it is a work of great linguistic and literary significance. The translator skilfully moulded the classical language of the poets into the literary Welsh known to us today. In short, the book is the foundation stone on which modern Welsh literature has been based. It also allowed a highly monoglot Welsh population to read and hear the Scriptures in their own language for the very first time.
John Bunyan – Taith neu Siwrnai y Pererin, 1688
John Bunyan was an English writer and Puritan preacher. His tale ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to come’ was an allegory and is amongst the most important pieces of religious English literature. It tells the tale of a Christian, on his journey from this world, the “City of Destruction” to the “Celestial City”. This publication has fascinated generations of readers and its popularity is particularly important with regards to its Welsh translation – ‘Taith neu Siwrnai y Pererin’ by Trebor Lloyd Evans. This version appeared in 1678, a decade after ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ was first published. Its translation is significant as it gave the Welsh monoglot population a taste of Bunyan’s tale in their own language.
Thomas Charles – Crynodeb o egwyddorion crefydd neu, gatecism byrr i blant ac eraill i’w ddysgu, 1789
Thomas Charles was the main leader of the second generation of Methodists in Wales and became one of the denomination’s most important members. Charles was a great believer in the importance of the catechism and began a campaign to emphasize its significance by publishing ‘Crynodeb o egwyddorion crefydd’, later translated into English – ‘A Short Evangelical Catechism’. The publication was aimed at children.
Want to see more posts from this series? See below:
- Prose and Novels
- Poetry Volumes
- Plays and Interludes
- 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