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2504353Literary Research Guide — Welsh Literature2017James L. Harner
Welsh Literature

This section is limited to works devoted exclusively to Welsh literature (primarily in English). Because Welsh writers are frequently included in reference sources on English or British literature, researchers must consult section M: English Literature. Many works listed in sections G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses are useful for research in Welsh literature.

Histories and Surveys[edit]


A Guide to Welsh Literature. 7 vols. Cardiff: U of Wales P, 1976–2003. PB2206.G8 891′.6′6′09.

  • Vol. 1: Ed. A. O. H. Jarman and Gwilym Rees Hughes. Rev. ed. 1992. 295 pp. (Sixth century to c. 1300.)
  • Vol. 2: Ed. Jarman and Hughes. 1979. 400 pp. (c. 1300 to 1527.)
  • Vol. 3: Ed. R. Geraint Gruffydd. 1997. 293 pp. (c. 1530 to 1700.)
  • Vol. 4: Ed. Branwen Jarvis. 2000. 342 pp. (c. 1700 to 1800.)
  • Vol. 5: Ed. Hywel Teifi Edwards. 2000. 247 pp. (c. 1800 to 1900.)
  • Vol. 6: Ed. Dafydd Johnston. 1998. 308 pp. (c. 1900 to 1996.)
  • Vol. 7: Ed. M. Wynn Thomas. 2003. 348 pp. (Welsh Writing in English.)

A descriptive, interpretative history of Welsh literature from the sixth century to 1996. Each volume is made up of essays by major scholars on important works or writers, forms, genres, and historical background; each essay concludes with a highly selective bibliography of editions and studies. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects in each volume. The failure to identify sources of passages and references to scholarship renders the Guide less useful than it might be. Although frequently offering more detailed analyses than Parry but lacking his continuity and breadth, Guide to Welsh Literature complements rather than supersedes his History of Welsh Literature (P3140). Reviews: (vol. 1) Patrick K. Ford, Speculum 54.4 (1979): 812–17; Margaret Charlotte Ward, Medium Ævum 47.2 (1978): 333–37.


Parry, Thomas. A History of Welsh Literature. Trans. H. Idris Bell. Corrected rpt. Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1962. 534 pp. (Trans. of Hanes llenyddiaeth Gymraeg hyd 1900. Cardiff: U of Wales P, 1944. 323 pp.) PB2206.P33 820.9.

A history of Welsh literature from the sixth century to 1900, with an appendix by the translator carrying the record forward to c. 1950. Organized chronologically, chapters treat genres, forms, and major works or authors; beginning with the nineteenth century, chapters include a section on literary, linguistic, and historical scholarship. Concludes with a highly selective bibliography of English-language scholarship. Two indexes: Welsh authors; subjects (including scholars cited). Although the translation incorporates Parry’s modified views on some topics, the Welsh edition is still useful for its fuller bibliography. Authoritative but not definitive, this is the standard history of Welsh literature; it is complemented, but not superseded, by Guide to Welsh Literature (P3135). Review: Times Literary Supplement 23 Dec. 1955: 778.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]


The New Companion to the Literature of Wales. Comp. and ed. Meic Stephens. Cardiff: U of Wales P, 1998. 841 pp. Welsh ed.: Cydymaith i lenyddiaeth Cymru. Cardiff: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, 1997. 831 pp. PB2202.N49.

Covers Welsh literary culture from the sixth century through the late 1990s in some 3,300 entries on authors (including hymn writers, historians, antiquaries, critics, scholars, translators, journalists, and the like, but excluding anyone born after 1950); prosody (less fully than in the Welsh edition); genres; motifs; manuscripts; periodicals; literary works; folk songs; hymns; mythical, historical, and literary figures as well as a host of other individuals (even rugby players); folklore and legend; historical events; societies; movements; English authors important to Welsh culture; music—in short, just about anything of significance to Welsh literature. Entries emphasize factual information rather than interpretation, and many cite standard scholarly works; author entries focus on biographical details and major works but do offer occasional evaluative comments. Concludes with a chronology of Welsh history. Although some entries have no discernible connection with Welsh literature, the New Companion is an essential work for quick reference. A revision of The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales, ed. Stephens (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986; 682 pp.); Welsh edition: Cydymaith i lenyddiaeth Cymru (1986; 662 pp.).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

For an overview of bibliographies covering works printed in Wales and Welsh manuscripts, see Eiluned Rees, “From Autograph to Automation: Welsh Bibliography,” The Book Encompassed: Studies in Twentieth-Century Bibliography, ed. Peter Davison (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992) 193–99.


Jones, Brynmor. A Bibliography of Anglo-Welsh Literature, 1900–1965. Swansea: Wales and Monmouthshire Branch of the Lib. Assn., 1970. 139 pp. Z2013.3.J64 016.8209′0091.

A selective bibliography of poetry, drama, and fiction in English by Welsh writers, of some works set in Wales by foreign authors, and of studies of Anglo-Welsh literature. Since only works utilizing a Welsh locale, characters, or idiom are included, many important plays and fictional works by Welsh writers are omitted. (The requirement for Welsh content is less strictly applied to poetry.) Entries are organized in three parts. The list of primary works includes sections for anthologies and individual authors. In the latter, works are grouped by genre, with entries citing editions, translations, and excerpts and identifying locale in fiction and plays. The highly selective list of secondary works has sections for bibliographies and indexes, general criticism, and individual authors; some entries are briefly annotated. A concluding list of children’s stories is unannotated. Two indexes: settings; persons (excluding authors of studies of individual writers). Although its value as a record of twentieth-century Anglo-Welsh literature is seriously marred by the ill-considered editorial policy that excludes works lacking a Welsh background, this work remains a useful pioneering effort. It must be supplemented, however, by other sources such as vol. 4 of Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (M2467), New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (M1385), Explore the British Library (E250), and WorldCat (E225). Review: TLS: Times Literary Supplement 4 Dec. 1970: 1428.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Serial Bibliographies[edit]


Llyfryddiaeth Cymru / A Bibliography of Wales. National Library of Wales. Natl. Lib. of Wales, 2008. 18 Dec. 2012. <>. Updated regularly.

Llyfryddiaeth Cymru / A Bibliography of Wales, [1985–94]. Aberystwyth: Natl. Lib. of Wales, 1992–99. Biennial. Z2071.L57 [DA708] 016.9429.

Bibliotheca Celtica: A Register of Publications Relating to Wales and the Celtic Peoples and Languages, [1909–84]. Aberystwyth: Natl. Lib. of Wales, 1910–90. Z2071.B56 016.9429.

Bibliography of Wales is a bibliographic database of publications written in Welsh, published in Wales, or relating to Wales. The database is accessible through the National Library’s OPAC (click Keyword, then chose Bibliography of Wales on the Search Collection menu). Users can search a combination of full text, title, author, subject, ISSN, or ISBN fields. Results can be sorted in ascending or descending order by author, title, or date and can be marked for e-mailing, printing, or saving.

The printed Bibliography of Wales combines and continues Bibliotheca Celtica and Subject Index to Welsh Periodicals [1931–84] (Aberystwyth: Natl. Lib. of Wales, 1934–89). Entries (which provide full bibliographic information and cite reviews of books) are listed in two parts: subjects and authors.

Bibliotheca Celtica is a classified bibliography of books, dissertations, theses, and articles of Welsh interest acquired by the National Library. Since the volume covering 1929–33 (1939), entries are organized by Library of Congress classification system. The language and literature division includes sections for biography, Celtic languages, Celtic literature, Welsh language, Welsh literature, Anglo-Welsh literature, and Arthurian literature (for many years this last section appeared at the end of the classified list). (Until the volume for 1973–76 [1981], Bibliotheca Celtica also includes Irish and Scottish Gaelic language and literature.) Indexed by names.

Welsh Publications, 1801–1919—an ongoing union catalog of materials printed in Wales between 1801 and 1919 designed to fill a major gap in the national bibliographies of the country and to redress the underrepresentation of Welsh publications in the Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue (M2475)—is defunct.

While Bibliography of Wales offers the fullest general coverage of scholarship on Welsh literature, it must be supplemented by ABELL (G340), MLAIB (G335), and the other serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.


“Welsh Writing in English: A Bibliography of Criticism, [1993– ].” Almanac: Yearbook of Welsh Writing in English 1– (1995– ). PR8950.W35.

An unannotated list of publications and some dissertations and theses on Welsh writers writing in English, along with some English-language studies of Welsh-language authors and some Welsh-language works on English-language authors. Entries are divided between two divisions, general criticism and individual authors (organized by literary author). Users must skim all entries in early installments since essays on individual authors included in collective entries for yearbooks and collections of essays in the general criticism division usually are not listed in the second division and since essays on two or more authors frequently appear under only one author heading.

See also[edit]

Secs. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

ABELL (G340): Entries on Anglo-Welsh writers and literature are dispersed throughout.

Bibliography of British and Irish History (M1400).

MLAIB (G335): Until the volume for 1981, Welsh literature in English was included in the English Literature division. Welsh-language literature was covered in the Celtic Languages and Literatures heading under the General division in the volumes for 1928–52; in General IV (later V or VI): Celtic Languages and Literatures in the volumes for 1953–66; and in Celtic IX: Welsh in the volumes for 1967–80. Since the 1981 volume, the Welsh Literature section encompasses Welsh literature in whatever language. Researchers must also check the headings beginning with “Welsh” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

YWES (G330).

Other Bibliographies[edit]


Harris, John. A Bibliographical Guide to Twenty-Four Modern Anglo-Welsh Writers. Cardiff: U of Wales P, 1994. 387 pp. Z2077.H37 [PR8951] 016.8209′9429.

A bibliography of works by and about 24 modern Anglo-Welsh writers. Coverage extends through 1991 (along with a few later publications). Following sections for anthologies and general criticism (with subdivisions for bibliographies and reference works, general studies, poetry, prose, regional guides, and pedagogy), the writers appear alphabetically; under each are chronological lists of primary works and alphabetical lists of studies of the writer (with contributions to books and periodicals covered selectively and a headnote outlining the organization of primary and secondary works). Several entries are taken unverified from other sources. Where a reliable bibliography exists, coverage in Bibliographical Guide is meant to supplement it. Some entries are accompanied by an explanatory phrase. Although inexcusably lacking an index, Bibliographical Guide offers the most thorough list of works about the selected authors (and, for some, the most complete list of primary works). For post-1991 studies, see MLAIB (G335) and ABELL (G340)—though neither is very thorough in covering Anglo-Welsh literature.

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]


Y Bywgraffiadur Ar-lein (YBA) / Welsh Biography Online (WBO). National Library of Wales. Natl. Lib. of Wales, 2009. 18 Dec. 2012. <>.

A digitized, XML-encoded version of

  • Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig hyd 1940. Ed. John Edward Lloyd and R. T. Jenkins. London: n.p., 1953. 1,110 pp. DA710.A1 B9.
  • The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940. [Ed. Lloyd and Jenkins.] London: Honourable Soc. of Cymmrodorion, 1959. 1,157 pp. DA710.A1 B9.
  • Bywgraffiadur Cymreig hyd 1941–1950: Gydag Atodiad i’r Bywgraffiadur Cymreig hyd 1940. [Ed. Lloyd, Jenkins, and W. Llewelyn Davies.] London: Anrhydeddus Gyndeithas y Cymmrodorion, 1970. 179 pp. DA710.A1 B9.
  • Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig, 1951–1970: Gydag atodiad i’r Bywgraffiadur Cymreig hyd 1940 a’r Bywgraffiadur Cymreig 1941–1950 . Ed. Evan David Jones and Brynley F. Roberts. London: Anrhydeddus Gymdeithas y Cymmrodorion, 1997. 304 pp. DA710.A1 B9.
  • The Dictionary of Welsh Biography, 1941–1970: Together with a Supplement to The Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 . Ed. Jenkins, Jones, and Roberts. London: Honourable Soc. of Cymmrodorion, 2001. 449 pp. DA710.A1 B9.

A biographical dictionary of deceased persons of Welsh birth or parentage and of foreigners important to the country’s history. The signed entries—several of which are devoted to families—offer factual accounts of notorious and eminent persons from all walks of life (including a considerable number of writers). Although less discursive than in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (M1425), the articles incorporate much important recent research and conclude with a list of sources. The digitized version allows users to browse by entrant or to search by entries or full text (a particularly welcome feature since the lack of indexes in the print volumes made it virtually impossible to identify individuals associated with professions, places, organizations, educational institutions, and the like). Users should note that the additions and corrections in the print volumes have now been incorporated into main entries. The National Library of Wales is adding new entries (see New Articles Now Available, on the home page) and plans to “add portraits, paintings, sound and video recordings” and additional links. Scholarly and authoritative, this work is the standard biographical dictionary of Wales—one that in its electronic form can be more widely disseminated and far more easily mined for its wealth of data. Review: Penry Williams, English Historical Review 75.297 (1960): 706–08.

See also[edit]

Sec. J: Biographical Sources.

New Companion to the Literature of Wales (P3145).

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (M1425).


Guides to Primary Works[edit]


Walters, Huw. Llyfryddiaeth Cylchgronau Cymreig, 1735–1850 / A Bibliography of Welsh Periodicals, 1735–1850. Aberystwyth: Natl. Lib. of Wales, 1993. 109 pp. Z6956.W25 W35 [PN5157.P4] 015.429.

———. Llyfryddiaeth Cylchgronau Cymreig, 1851–1900 / A Bibliography of Welsh Periodicals, 1851–1900. Aberystwyth: Natl. Lib. of Wales, 2003. 501 pp. PN5157.P4 W35. 015.429.

A bibliography of periodicals (excluding newspapers and almanacs) published in Wales or associated with the country but published elsewhere. Entries—listed alphabetically (according to the Welsh alphabet) by title—include alternative titles and subtitles, date of first and last issue, editors, printers, publishers, frequency of publication, list of appendixes, illustrations, price, size, indexes, notes, and indication of the source of the description; English-language periodicals are described in English, Welsh-language periodicals in Welsh. Five indexes: editors and authors; publishers; printers; places of publication; places of printing. 1851–1900 includes a chronological list of periodicals by date of founding as well as a two-page addenda to 1735–1850. Although Llyfryddiaeth Cylchgronau Cymreig cites only a limited number of locations of runs and bases some descriptions on sources other than firsthand examination, it offers the fullest record of Welsh periodicals established before 1900.