Morlais is Alun Lewis’s unpublished novel from the late 1930s. The Lawrentian story of a young boy growing up in the poverty stricken industrial valleys of south Wales, it also reflects Lewis’s own experiences, particularly his search for self-knowledge and his conviction that he would be a writer.
Miner’s son Morlais Jenkins is already being educated away from his background at grammar school when he is adopted, on the death of her own son, by the wife of the local colliery owner. Morlais’s parents recognize the opportunity for their son to make a better future, but they must all pay a great price. Stifled by middle class life, his adoptive mother recognizes that Morlais will be a poet and encourages him to be neither working class or middle class, but true to his talent.
Full of vivid descriptive passages of life in the fictional mining valley, and centred on the conflicted character of Morlais and the decisions he faces over his two families, his two social backgrounds, and his desire to be a poet, the novel is an enthralling journey through the life of a young boy becoming a young man.
Alun Lewis (1915-1944) was the outstanding writer of World War Two and Morlais, written in his mid twenties, is an early indication of the talented writer he would become just five years later. This edition is accompanied by an Afterword by Lewis’s biographer, John Pikoulis.