Taught jointly by the Schools of Welsh and English, the Literatures of Wales MA is the first course anywhere in the world which focuses on the study and comparison of texts from the two main literary traditions in Wales (where necessary in English translation). Wales is the only one of the British Celtic nations to retain a widely-spoken, viable indigenous language and a vibrant contemporary literature. It is also the only British nation whose distinctive Anglophone literature remains marginalised within its own education system. At university level, the linguistic divide of the twentieth century encouraged the separate study of the two literatures, a schism which modern scholarship has only recently started to overcome. Bangor – a genuinely bilingual cultural centre – is an ideal place in which to study these two literary traditions from Wales, and to consider the question of what happens to English-language literature when it is not the principal tradition.
The first part of the course comprises three modules which seek to provide students with an understanding of modern Welsh literary and cultural history, enable them to develop their understanding of key issues in modern Welsh literary scholarship and consider key issues across both literary traditions, from a cross-community perspective.
Introduction: ‘Who Speaks for Wales?’: In this introductory module, students will be asked to consider how issues of identity pertinent to Wales from 1840 to the present have been understood. Typically, students will study internal difference within Wales, Britishness, notions of Celtic identity, Wales as a postcolonial nation, parallels with other ‘dominated’ British nations, nationalist movements. Work by the following writers might be studied: Hywel Teifi Edwards, Saunders Lewis, Raymond Williams, Matthew Arnold, J.R. Jones, M. Wynn Thomas, Tony Conran, Dai Smith, Kirsti Bohata. Welsh Modernity: Students will be asked to consider the ways in which literature across both linguistic traditions registers the arrival of modernity, and the changes subsequently wrought. Themes might include industry, class, urbanisation, capitalism, rural culture, religion, linguistic change and exile. Writers to be studied might include Caradoc Evans, Lynette Roberts, Caradog Pritchard, Dylan Thomas, Kate Roberts, R.S. Thomas, Arthur Machen, Emyr Humphreys, Idris Davies. Gender and Wales: Students will study the relation between gender and the Welsh nation, and how gender roles have changed over the last century. Themes might include sexuality, masculinity and industry, gendered representations of the colonised space, the male body, women and representations of land. Writers to be studied might include: Elin ap Hywel, Jan Morris, John Sam Jones, Glyn Jones, Jane Aaron, Lewis Jones, Gwyneth Lewis, Rhys Davies, Amy Dillwyn, Menna Gallie. Part Two:
Preparation of a 20,000-word Dissertation, written in English or Welsh, on any aspect of the literatures in which the student is interested a subject of your choice, researched and written under the individual supervision of a subject specialist.