Welsh Gothic, by Jane Aaron (University of Wales Press, May 2012)
Drawing upon both Welsh- and English-language materials, Welsh Gothic explores the diverse ways in which Wales has been represented in Gothic literature from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Jane Aaron’s magisterial monograph brings to light just how thoroughly Wales was Gothicised from Mary Robinson to Arthur Machen, Caradoc Evans to Gwyn Thomas and through to Ruth Bidgood.
Gendering Border Studies (Gender Studies in Wales) by Jane Aaron, Henrice Altink, Editor, Chris Weedon, Editor (University of Wales Press, Jun 2010)
‘This collection sheds important new light on the diverse ways in which gender ideas impacted on processes of migration, and it explores the gendering of border crossing in fiction. It will be an invaluable book for anyone seeking to bring gender as a relational category – related to other markers of difference, such as class, race and religion – more centrally into border studies.’ (Stefan Burger)
A Welsh Witch: A Romance of Rough Places by Allen Raine (Author), Jane Aaron (Editor) (Honno Press, March 2013)
First published by Allen Raine in 1902, A Welsh Witch is an enthralling tale of complex lives and loves, set in late nineteenth-century rural and industrial Wales. This new edition includes an introduction by Jane Aaron, the general editor of Honno Press’s Welsh Women’s Classics series. A Welsh Witch is the twenty-first publication in the series, which aims to bring out-of-print books in English by women writers from Wales to a new generation of readers.
A Bloody Good Friday by Desmond Barry (Vintage, 2002)
It is Good Friday, in the year 1977. Merthyr Tydfil. At twenty to midnight, a dozen different forces converge – Macky, just out of jail; the gippos and their knives; the Shop Boys, fifty or sixty skinheads in fanatical pursuit of recreational violence; PO.C Phillips, the young cooper with something to prove; Mohan Singh, proud owner of the Taj Mahal curry house. The result: mayhem. Race riot erupts in valleys town. And witness to it all, Davey Daunt, a spazzy with a leg brace is the only one who knows what really happened.
Cressida’s Bed by Desmond Barry (Vintage, 2005)
Dr Christina Devenish, Suffragist and Theosophist, is running a birth control clinic in Bombay in 1931. When the clinic is burnt down in an independence riot, her father invites her to visit him in Bhutan, where he is an advisor at the court of the Shabdrung, Bhutan’s version of the Dalai Lama. Arriving in Calcutta, Christina joins a British expedition to Bhutan led by Major Owen Davies, a tough Political Officer. Davies has the covert brief to resolve, even by 'drastic action’, the rivalry between the Shabdrung and the Maharaja, Bhutan’s temporal ruler. Christina’s father is deeply embroiled in the Great Game: and for Davies, he’s on the wrong side. As Christina and Owen Davies journey toward the Himalayas, they begin a hungry love affair, knowing that other loyalties will soon intrude; and when Christina meets the Shabdrung, the young god-king’s effect on her leads to a devastating final act.
Poetry, Geography, Gender: Contemporary Women Rewriting Wales, by Alice Entwistle (University of Wales Press, November 2013)
Poetry, Geography, Gender explores literary and geographical analysis, cultural criticism and gender politics in the work of such well-known literary figures as Gwyneth Lewis, Menna Elfyn, Christine Evans and Gillian Clarke, alongside newer names like Zoe Skoulding and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch. Drawing on her unpublished interviews with many of the featured poets, Alice Entwistle examines how and why their various senses of affiliation with a shared cultural hinterland should encourage us to rethink the relationship between nation, identity and literary aesthetics in post-devolution Wales.
A History of Twentieth-Century British Women’s Poetry by Alice Entwistle and Jane Dowson (Cambridge University Press, Oct 2009)
A History of Twentieth-Century British Women’s Poetry offers a detailed evaluative documentary record of the publications, activities and achievements of a lively but undervalued literary community. Part literary history, part critical analysis, this comprehensive survey is organised into three historical periods (1900–1945, 1945–1980 and 1980–2000), each part introduced by a comprehensive overview in which the emerging names are mapped against cultural, literary and poetic events and trends.
Deep Field, a collection of poems by Philip Gross (Bloodaxe, 2011)
A Poetry Book Society recommendation
In his nineties Philip Gross’s father, a wartime refugee, began to lose his several languages, first to deafness, then profound aphasia. Deeply thought as well as deeply felt, these poems reach into that gulf to find him – through recovery of histories both spoken and unspoken as well as an excavation of the spoken word itself.
Later, a collection of poems by Philip Gross (Bloodaxe, 2013)
Challenging and tender, these poems are a rite of passage. Deep Field explored the loosening connections between the self and language in his refugee father’s old age. This new book goes further, through the failing of the body, through the mind’s weakening hold on the borderline between the present and the traumas of the past.
The Book of Idiots, a novel by Christopher Meredith (Seren, 2012)
Sitting in a hospital waiting room Wil Daniel bumps into an old flame and soon their lives begin to unravel in Meredith’s superb modern Welsh tragedy.
Air Histories, a collection of poems by Christopher Meredith (Seren, 2013)
Air Histories starts in the Stone Age and ends in the future. It’s marked by formal diversity and a wide range of subjects, with the personal alongside the impersonal and the experimental alongside well-known forms, as well as including some translations from the Welsh. Throughout it engages the rich meanings of its title, touching on the elemental and on historical time, as well as music and story, meditating on human creativity and its fallibilities from knapping an arrowhead to playing the fiddle or making a guitar. Nature is a touchstone, particularly the Black Mountains, near the author’s home, but also often seen ‘aslant’ as in ‘Seeing the Birds’ where sparrows seem suddenly fierce as eagles.
Libra – per libris ad astra, a collection of poetry by Kevin Mills (Cinnamon Press, 2012)
The extraordinary verbal richness and ambition of this book should not be mistaken for obscurity. Kevin Mills deals unapologetically in deep veins of learning, whether early astronomy or Mesopotamian myth, but his knowledge is always leavened with a curiosity and, frequently, a kind of impish delight …any reader who is willing to play the game will come out feeling themselves acquainted not just with new knowledge but with a new attitude to knowledge; it will leave them wanting more. These poems reach out…. They are serious in the wish to communicate. The writing is witty and tender, delicate and tough. It consistently charms us out of the every-day – Philip Gross
The Prodigal Sign: A Parable of Criticism (Critical Inventions) by Kevin Mills (Sussex Academic Press, 2009)
The Prodigal Sign characterises criticism as a set of prodigal practices that exceed the constraints of primary texts, history, and theory. Critics are habitual runaways: forever seeking to escape the jurisdiction of their forebears and of the academy. Always on the lookout for something new and distinctive to say about the same old texts or for texts that have escaped the professional attention of their peers, like the prodigal son, they live on their inheritance while trying to escape from their own disciplinary history. This work makes a case for celebrating the prodigal condition and for another escape: breaking out of traditional constraints towards a hybrid form that combines the critical with the creative.
Female Gothic Histories: Gender, History and the Gothic, by Diana Wallace (University of Wales Press, 2013)
This volume traces the development of women’s Gothic historical fiction from Sophia Lee’s The Recess in the late eighteenth century through the work of Elizabeth Gaskell, Vernon Lee, Daphne du Maurier and Victoria Holt to the best-selling novels of Sarah Waters in the twenty-first century. It explores the ways in which women writers have turned to the Gothic as a mode of writing that can both reinsert them into history and symbolise their exclusion.
The Female Gothic: New Directions, edited by Diana Wallace and Andrew Smith (Palgrave, 2009)
A rich and varied collection of essays which makes a timely contribution to critical debates about the Female Gothic. The contributors include established scholars in Gothic Studies as well as new names. Their essays revisit key Gothic themes such as gender, race, the body, and monstrosity, while two essays on the Scottish and Welsh Gothic represent some of the latest work in this area. Writers discussed include central figures such Ann Radcliffe, Charlotte Brontë and Angela Carter as well as writers who are more rarely discussed as ‘Gothic’ such as Iris Murdoch and Iain Banks.
Here are Lovers, editor Diana Wallace (Honno, 2012)
Set in nineteenth-century Radnorshire, Hilda Vaughan’s Here are Lovers (originally published in 1926) is the story of Laetitia Wingfield, the beautiful and bookish daughter of the Anglicised Squire Wingfield, and Gronwy Griffith, the son of one of his Welsh tenant farmers, who longs to be a classical scholar. Bored and frustrated with the restricted life of a Victorian young lady, Laetitia encounters the romance she so longs for when she becomes lost during a clandestine night-time ride and is rescued by Gronwy. One of the few novels to centre on an election, Here are Lovers is a highly accomplished historical novel which reworks the tradition of Sir Walter Scott to address issues such as women’s suffrage which were still highly contentious in the mid-1920s. This new edition has an introduction by Diana Wallace.