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Writing Welsh History: From the Early Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century

Writing Welsh History: From the Early Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century

Writing Welsh History is the first book to explore how the history of Wales and the Welsh has been written over the past fifteen hundred years. By analysing and contextualizing a wide range of historical writing, from Gildas in the sixth century to recent global approaches, it opens new perspectives both on the history of Wales and on understandings of Wales and the Welsh - and thus on the use of the past to articulate national and other identities. The study's broad chronological scope serves to highlight important continuities in interpretations of Welsh history. One enduring preoccupation is Wales's place in Britain. Down to the twentieth century it was widely held that the Welsh were an ancient people descended from the original inhabitants of Britain whose history in its fullest sense ended with Edward I's conquest of Wales in 1282-4, their history thereafter being regarded as an attenuated appendix. However, Huw Pryce shows that such master narratives, based on medieval sources and focused primarily on the period down to 1282, were part of a much larger and more varied historiographical landscape. Over the past century the thematic and chronological range of Welsh history writing has expanded significantly, notably in the unprecedented attention given to the modern period, reflecting broader trends in an increasingly internationalized historical profession as well as the influence of social, economic, and political developments in Wales and elsewhere.

List of Abbreviations

Introduction

PART I: DISTANT PASTS AND CONFLICTED PRESENTS: THE MIDDLE AGES

Chapter 1. Prologue: Themes and Contexts

Chapter 2. British Pasts: The Early Middle Ages

Chapter 3. Saints, Kings, and Princes: Welsh Pasts in an Age of Conquest, c.1070–1282

Chapter 4. Curating the Past in a Conquered Land, 1282–1540

PART II: REAFFIRMATION AND ELABORATION, 1540–1770

Chapter 5. ‘Our Ancestors the Ancient Britons’, 1540–1620

Chapter 6. From the Universal to the Local: Framing the History of Wales, 1540–1620

Chapter 7. Refurbishing the Past: Antiquarianism and Historical Writing, 1620–1707

Chapter 8. From Druids to the Last Bard, 1707–70

PART III: ROMANTICISM AND ENLIGHTENMENT, 1770–1880

Chapter 9. Civilization, Liberty, and Dissent, 1770–1820

Chapter 10. Cultural Revival and Romantic History: The World of Thomas Price (Carnhuanawc), 1820–48

Chapter 11. ‘Living in the Past’ and the Challenges of Modernity, 1848–80

PART IV: PROFESSIONALIZATION AND NATIONHOOD, 1880–2020

Chapter 12. Scientific History and National Awakening, 1880–1920

Chapter 13. Consolidation and Reappraisal, 1920–60

Chapter 14. A New Beginning? Writing Welsh History, 1960–2020

Conclusion

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