35th title of the Welsh Women's Classics series
Cambrian Tales appeared in serialized form in Ainsworth’s Magazine from March 1849 to March 1850 and has not previously been published as a novel. Like the political pamphlet Artegall, also included in this volume, it constitutes part of Jane Williams’ attempts to defend Wales against the notorious ‘Blue Books’, the 1847 government report which damned the Welsh as ignorant, immoral and barbaric. A comedy of manners, set in and around a Welsh country house, it features characters clearly modelled on Ysgafell’s patron, Lady Llanover, and her social circle. Also included are two representative poems, one from Celtic Fables (1862), a feminist reworking of ancient legend, and the previously unpublished ‘A Petition’ in which a night-cap maker protests against her dire exploitation. Ysgafell’s social conscience, her patriotism and her sardonic humour are evident throughout the volume.
7 September 2023