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My People

Caradoc Evans
ISBN-13: 
9780907476818
Format: 
Paperback
Publication Date: 
Thursday, February 23, 1995
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The appearance of My People in 1915 caused a literary sensation. In England critics praised it as a work of art comparable with Zola and new writers such as Joyce. In Evans’s native Wales there was outrage at his portrayal of rural west Wales. Instantly Evans became the most reviled man in his country: his books were burned, his plays disrupted. For his astonishing attack on what he perceived to be a corrupt Liberal Nonconformist hierarchy Evans created a mean world with particular clarity. Its leaders appear as amoral demons speaking a language of literally translated Welsh and Old Testament phrases, using the Bible to justify acts of gross hypocrisy and self-gratification. The fate of its downtrodden victims has appalled and fascinated readers for over eighty years. This edition includes John Harris’s informative essay on the background to these classic stories.

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Review by Cynan Jones, Lit Hub

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Published in 1915, Evans’s dark, viciously wrought collection pours vitriol on the rural Welsh-speaking Cardiganshire community in which he grew up. Evans’s father died when he was four, and his mother was left to work their tenant farm in extreme poverty, bringing up five children. By all accounts, horribly treated by the local congregation. The stories Evans wrote in revenge made him “the best hated man in Wales.”

He drew ire, not just for the searing portrayal of characters and events, which he claimed were based on truths, but—as many saw it—for making Welsh people sound backward, (chiefly achieved by bending spoken English to Welsh rules in his dialogue). To make matters worse, the English loved him. Critics compared him with Zola and Joyce, but more than a hundred years on, his name still raises hackles at home.

 

 

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