Wales and the French Revolution

Lead Research Organisation: University of Wales
Department Name: Centre for Adv. Welsh and Celtic Studies

Abstract

The French Revolution of 1789 was the defining event of the Romantic period in Europe. It unsettled not only the ordering of society but language and thought itself: its effects were profound and long-lasting. Over the last twenty years, scholarship in this area has radically changed our understanding of the impact of the Revolution and its aftermath on British and European culture. In literature, as critical attention has shifted from a handful of major poets to the non-canonical 'edges', we can now see how the works of women writers, self-educated writers, radical pamphleteers, religious enthusiasts and loyalist propagandists both shaped and were shaped by the language and ideas of the period. Yet surprising gaps remain. Even recent studies of the 'British' reaction to the Revolution are under-informed about responses from the regions, and Wales is particularly poorly served. The reasons for this are complex, but it is clear that many researchers working in this period are simply unaware of the kinds of sources available for comparative study.

At the time of the 1801 census the vast majority of people living in Wales spoke no English: eighteenth-century Wales, in other words, retained a markedly distinct cultural and linguistic identity. How, then, did the events in Europe and the British reaction to them come to be known and felt throughout the different levels of Welsh society? In what ways did Welsh responses differ from those in Scotland, Ireland or London? This project will explore these questions through a wide-ranging series of edited texts, chosen to reflect the dramatic increase in diversity and abundance of Welsh literature during the period 1790-1815. The volumes will be organized principally by genre (poetry, sermons, letters, and so on) and each volume will provide an in-depth critical introduction situating the material in its historical and literary context. An additional collection of essays, both literary and historical, by experts from inside and outside Wales will further explore the subject across a wide range of genres and themes (e.g. the presence of America, the role of translation, the London-Welsh networks). The on-going work of the project will be presented to the wider academic community by means of an international conference, and to the general public through a dedicated website.

The research team will be led by an investigator with ten years' experience in the field of European Romanticism; she has recently headed a five-year project on the Welsh Romantic forger and radical, Iolo Morganwg. Her co-investigator is an eminent historian of Wales, who has, over three decades, published widely on the period. A strong advisory panel will include scholars with expertise in Welsh history and literature and leading writers on British Romanticism from outside Wales. Towards the end of the project a technical consultant will assist the team in presenting the results of their work in web form.

From ballads and pamphlets to personal letters and prize-winning poems, essays, journals, sermons and satires, the range of texts covered by our project will make it a stimulating reflection of the complexity of the period. The Wales we expect to emerge from this study will be neither purely radical nor purely loyalist; neither exclusively Welsh nor yet wholly British. The implications of this work, moreover, go well beyond the immediate 'Four Nations' context of the British response to the Revolution. Our findings will provide further much-needed material for ongoing international research into the subtle interactions of regional, national and international constructions of identity during this extraordinarily formative period of European history.
 
Title Chwyldro! Revolution! 
Description A fully bilingual exhibition which showcased work from the project by exploring the roots of public political discourse in Wales. Letters, songs, pamphlets, books and pictures from the archives at NLW voices expressed a variety of responses to political events from the 1790s to the present day. The exhibition was jointly organized by the National Library of Wales Political Archive and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, drawing on work from from the AHRC-funded Wales and the French Revolution project. It was held for 4 weeks in the Pierhead Building next door to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay and was open to the public. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact It was suggested by one visitor that the exhibition panels be turned into a booklet for use by schools across Wales. We are currently exploring this possibility. 
URL http://www.wales.ac.uk/en/NewsandEvents/News/CAWCS/ChwyldroRevolution.aspx
 
Title Iolo novel 
Description A novel by Gareth Thomas based on the life of Iolo Morganwg, and drawing directly on the project's publications, was published by Y Lolfa Press in 2018 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Raised profile of key figure in 1790s Wales 
 
Title Voices from 1790s Wales, performance/readings 
Description An evening of staged readings telling the story of 1790s Wales through writers' own words. 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact This event tested the concept of using original, 1790s written voices as a vehicle for telling the history of the period. A radio version of the same concept, provisionally titled 'Voices from a Dangerous Decade', is currently in the planning stages. 
URL http://www.wales.ac.uk/Resources/Documents/Centre/2012/programmeChwyldro2012.pdf
 
Description The Wales and the French Revolution Project has, over the last four years, uncovered a huge amount of new and little-known material relating to one of the most exciting periods in European history. We have shown how people in Wales responded in a variety of ways to the 1789 Revolution in France and to the fierce debate it sparked in Britain, right across the political spectrum, in both Welsh and in English. Publications from the project (seven volumes of texts and criticism to date, and many articles) have made these texts fully accessible to non-Welsh speaking audiences for the first time, allowing a far more nuanced historical and literary understanding of what it might mean to be 'British' at this period of international conflict. We have discussed and presented our work to a wide range of audiences throughout Wales, Britain and abroad.



We have edited and translated poems, printed ballads, newspaper reports, letters and journals; visual culture has also received attention. Further volumes in press and in progress will present anthologies of letters, a folk-play, political pamphlets, travel writing and translations all exploring the same revolutionary period. The series has already been welcomed by Literature and History Departments keen to emphasize a Four Nations / devolved approach to narratives of British history.



The importance of translation, of the transfer of knowledge and ideas between languages and social groups has been a key finding. The project has also helped to open up the field of late eighteenth-century Welsh literature to a far wider range of texts - in both languages - than have traditionally been studied on university syllabuses. It has played a key part in taking the study of 'Welsh Writing in English' back beyond its traditionally twentieth century focus. Throughout the project, we have stressed the importance of a holistic, interdisciplinary, fully bilingual approach to this material.



Our website (in progress) presents some of our key findings, with extracts from texts, sound bites, and visuals.
Exploitation Route The series has considerable potential in the teaching of history generally. We have ensured that the volumes are reasonably priced, and not beyond the reach of schools, local history societies etc. Several members of the project have taken part in radio and television programmes in Welsh and English discussing aspects of their work. We have also supported the new Richard Price Society in Llangeinor, Bridgend, which aims to promote local knowledge of the radical minister and philosopher Richard Price (1723-1791).
Sectors Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://frenchrevolution.wales.ac.uk
 
Description Our publications have been used in the teaching of A-level History in Wales (the French Revolution is currently a topic on Welsh Joint Education Council syllabus): the wide variety of texts have provided a welcome addition to teaching resources. The series has also been included in undergraduate reading lists in C18th studies at York and Glasgow - thus enhancing awareness of the diversity of British culture in the period. We have also reached a wider audience in our support for the Richard Price Society; by attending, speaking, and by working closely with the author, an amateur historian, of a biography of Price which is due out as part of our series in 2015. We hope to develop political interest in Price and his ideas within the Welsh Assembly. In September 2016 we co-organized an exhibition with the National Library of Wales in the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay, next to the National Assembly: our sponsor and invited guest was Elin Jones AM, currently Speaker of the House. Members of the project have taken part in radio and television programmes discussing different aspects of their work in Welsh and English. Advice was given to the author of a novel based on a key radical figure of 1790s Wales, Edward Williams (Iolo Morganwg). The author has generously acknowledged the help of project publications and project members and the novel is due out in autumn 2017.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description French Revolution collaborations 
Organisation National Library of Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Raised profile of a number of important archives and publicised work and holdings of the Library generally.
Collaborator Contribution Privileged access to documents; use of venues free for conferences and events
Impact N/A
Start Year 2009
 
Description NLW Pierhead 
Organisation National Library of Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We have planned an exhibition in Cardiff's Pierhead Building (next to Senate house) of material from the National Library of Wales bringing together political writings from Wales from the revolutionary decade 1789-99, and political writing from the most recent ten years of Welsh devolution. Our team is contributing ideas for individual items from 1789-99; designing and writing the exhibition panels and organizing an event in September.
Collaborator Contribution NLW have provided staff expertise and contacts with politicians; they organized the venue.
Impact Work in progress: exhibition due September 2016. Multidisciplinary, crossover politics/literature /history.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Richard Price Society 
Organisation Richard Price Society
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We supported the foundation of the RPS and helped the founder member, an amateur historian, prepare a major new biography of Price for press
Collaborator Contribution The Society helps to publicise the work of the project to a non-academic audience.
Impact Support for local history society. We worked closely with the author of a new biography of Price - an amateur historian - assisting editorially, and in getting his book through the press as part of our series. The book is due out in Spring 2015.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Wales-Brittany workshops 
Organisation University of Western Brittany
Department Breton and Celtic Research Centre
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A series of themed day-conferences held over two years to link the research centres at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and the University of Brest Centre de Recherche Bretonne et Cerltique. One of the days was devoted to the theme of 'war', so that members of the Wales and the French Revolution Project could discuss their work to date. There will be an online publication as a furter outcome of this partnership.
Start Year 2010
 
Description "Olion Traed Rhyddid": George Cadogan Morgan a Chwymp y Bastille 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public lecture given for the Cymmrodrion Society at the National Eisteddfod, Glamorgan; an account of a travel diary written by a Glamorgan-born minister who was present in Paris during the first days of the 1789 Revolution .

Lecture to lay audience on a neglected figure from Glamorgan's history: an important eye witness to first days of French revolution
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description '"This nation" in 1716: considering the first political translation into Welsh', 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk goven by Dr Marion Loeffler as part of a Symposium held by universities of Aberystwyth and Bangor on 'Early Modern Wales. Space, Place and Displacement', Aberystwyth, 6 July 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 'Cyfieithiadau fel Drych y Genedl: Y "Marseillaise" yng Nghymru', Cynhadledd Pontydd Cyfieithu i'r Dyniaethau ac mewn Llenyddiaeth', 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dr Marion Loeffler presented a paper on translation at a day-school organized by the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and the Coleg Cenedlaethol (an organization which supports Welsh-medium academic and educational activities across Wales.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description 'Dangerous Coasts: Wales in the 1790s', 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This was a talk given to members of The Fort Belan Society, at Fort Belan, Caernarfonshire in June; it focused on contemporary accounts of invasion and warfare during the 1790s (the Fort itself was built in the C18th as a response to that threat). The evening included music and a long discussion with the audience about 'Welsh' and 'English' /British perspectives on International events - all highly relevant in the light of the recent Brexit vote.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.fortbelan.co.uk/
 
Description Caneuon Rhyddid: ymateb y beirdd i'r Chwyldro Ffrengig 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An exploration of the reactions of Welsh bards to the events in France with a Welsh-language audience

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Curious Travellers: Movement, Landscape, Art, November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A day of talks on Romantic-period art and travel writing, held at Glyndwr University in conjunction with the 'Movement, Landscape, Art' exhibition in Oriel Sycharth, Glyndwr University. A number of the artists exhibiting work in the show attended, along with academics, heritage specialists, members of the Thomas Pennant Society, and members of the general public. The day concluded with a bilingual poetry reading by the National Poet of Wales/Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru, Ifor ap Glyn.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://curioustravellers.ac.uk/en/curious-travellers-movement-landscape-art-19-november-2016/
 
Description Cyflwyniad i Brosiect y Chwyldro 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Powerpoint presentation and talk explaining the aims of the project given at National Eisteddfod

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Dreadful Harmony: Bardic Loyalism and Welsh Gothic, 1789-1804 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public lecture given as part of the Centre's seminar series, mixed local audience of public and academic.

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description English provincial newspapers and Wales before 1804: unexpected treasures 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public lecture given at the National Library of Wales revealing how useful English border newspapers are as a source for knowledge of late C18th Wales.

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Four Welsh Travellers in 1790s Paris 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public lecture describing the experiences of 4 Welsh travellers in revolutionary Paris

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description New Statesman, podcasts 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A series of six podcasts on eighteenth-century women's writing, recorded for the New Statesman. To be broadcast April 2016; wide audience anticipated for the New Statesman's popular history podcast series.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Ond ieuangc yn y gelfyddyd o gyfieithu: cyfieithwyr Cymraeg y Chwyldro Ffrengig' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A discussion of various Welsh writers who translated texts from the Revolution Debate into Welsh during the 1790s.Seminar given to staff and general public at the Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Revolutionary Journeys day school 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Day event on Romantic-period Bristol at M-shed venue in Bristol organized by the University of the West of England. Invitation to return to give Chatterton lecture in the autumn.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Richard Price, Llangeinor 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An introduction to the life of the radical Glamorgan preacher, Richard Price (1723-1791.) Public lecture for lay audience given at National Eisteddfod, Glamorganshire.

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Talk:'Wörter, Konzepte und Übersetzungen vom Spätmittelalter in die Frühneuzeit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk at a Symposium in Marburg
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description The Story of Wales: panel discussion 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public panel discussion at Hay Festival of the BBC`s successful history series The Story of Wales.Panel discussion involving various people involved in the telling, presenting and researching of Welsh history; a tie-in with the BBC Story of Wales series.

Further interest from television companies; important contacts with the museum sector which fed into design of subsequent project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Translating political concepts for a non-state nation: 'Revolution' in Wales 1775-1815' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop held by the U4 Network of Revolution: Political Upheaval Seen from Afar: Translation and Transformation in the Age of Revolution (1750-1850), University of Göttingen, 23-25 June 2016. Talk presented by Dr Marion Loeffler used findings from the Wales &French Revolution project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description VIve la revolution? Y Chwyldro Ffrengig a'r beirdd 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public lecture on Welsh poetry of the revolutionary period given in Welsh to a local literary society.

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Wales and War: Poetry 1789-1804 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Paper given to project's one-day forum, open to public

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Wales and War: Poetry, 1789-1804 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Seminar given to Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies in York

Seminar given to staff and postgraduates - led to further collaborations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Wales and the French Revolution 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Seminar setting out aims of project given to Scottish and Celtic Studies Seminar Series, University of Glasgow

Interest in volumes from the project series
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Wales and the French Revolution 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Shared information about the aims of the project in a seminar to English department in Glamorgan

None known
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Y Marseillaise yn y Smotyn Du 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An account of the translation of the Marseillaise into Welsh

Public Lecture given at National Eisteddfod
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description `The Welsh in Revolutionary Paris` 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Seminar given to staff and postgraduates at Department of Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow, May 2012

Good links with department which led to subsequent successful joint AHRC bid
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012