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Welsh History Review


Vol. 10, nos. 1-4 1980-81

Emrys ap Iwan : Book review.

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1895, had planned educational policy and administration to bolster the
voluntary Anglican schools at the expense of their flourishing com-
petitors. The 1902 Act consolidated county council control of education
and led to the dismemberment of the locally accountable Boards so
close to Stanley's heart.
As Lord Stanley he inherited Penrhos in Anglesey, started to learn
Welsh, addressed the National Eisteddfod and became chairman of the
newly established Anglesey Education Committee. The author is less
sure of his ground here since this episode needs to be set surely in its
nineteenth-century Welsh background and grounded in a wider range of
primary and secondary sources. Mr. Jones is not sufficiently acquainted
with the early uniqueness of the Welsh secondary system and particularly
its links with the elementary schools. More detailed treatment of this
phase may have been eschewed due to lack of space, but to the Welsh
reader it does detract somewhat from the merits of an otherwise balanced,
clear and thoroughly researched book. Originating in a Master of Edu-
cation thesis, it serves to remind us of the quantity of valuable material-
among much dross-which has been produced recently for such degrees
on a variety of aspects of Welsh educational history. May some of it,
like this study, reach a wider public.
EMRYS AP IWAN. By D. Myrddin Lloyd. Writers of Wales Series.
University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1979. Pp. 61. £ 1.50.
Few Welshmen in Victorian times stirred up as many hornets' nests
as Emrys ap Iwan. His penchant for generating active controversies and
violent passions made him a unique figure in Welsh life. It also earned
him many enemies. Middle-of-the-road politicians believed him to be an
intransigent rebel. The self-seeking bourgeoisie were disturbed by his
hostility to the values of the age and by his unabashed candour. Noncon-
formists, hamleted by their consciences, their mediocrity and fondness
for things English, were shocked by his frank indictments of Welsh
provincialism, religion and y dwymyn Seisnig.
Mr. Myrddin Lloyd has already performed a notable service in pub-
lishing and elucidating a series of letters and articles written by Emrys ap
Iwan, and this thoughtful essay will provide non-Welsh readers with a
guide to the career and achievements of a supremely-gifted literary
craftsman. Emrys ap Iwan was a truly European figure, as much at home
in the fertile valleys of France as on the bleak moors of his native
Denbighshire. Educated in Switzerland and Germany, he soon became
recognized in Welsh literary circles as a man of formidable erudition
and hard-hitting views. His sermons, essays, articles and letters were all
couched in prose of sparkling purity, and no other Welsh writer of his
day could match him for literary artistry, critical acumen and mordant
wit. Quick-fire journalism was abhorrent to him, and he deliberately
included classical epithets and biblical nuances in analysing the world
about him. A firm believer in purity of language and idiom, he was much
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