Necrologies: A Book of Welsh Obituaries
Perhaps nothing captures the zeitgeist of a person or their society than their obituary. Necrologies – as the French call them – is a gathering of sixty obituaries written by Meic Stephens for The Independent of “writers, historians, artists, broadcasters, political activists, cultural mandarins, educationalists and cranks” which holds up a mirror to Wales’ (and in some ways Britain’s) cultural life.
Recognised as one of the most trenchant commentators in Wales, Stephens’ embracing knowledge of Wales in both languages provides a broad context in which to place his subjects and analyse their significance to their country. Celebration, assessment, occasional vilification, the obituary is read by the knowledgeable and the inquisitive, the expert and – dare we say it – the nosey. As such it is a unique writing form, which Necrologies brings into the mainstream of book publishing. Stephens includes an Introduction to the purpose and art of the obituary, the writing of which is now taught as part of journalism courses at most UK universities. His subjects include: Alexander Cordell, Susan Williams- Ellis, Kyffin Williams, Gwynfor Evans, Gwyn Alf Williams, and David Tinker.