Emyr Humphreys 1919-2020 “Trysor Cenedlaethol”

OUTSIDE THE HOUSE OF BAAL

“One of the most gifted of novelists. He has an instinctive sense of the ways in which men and women are shaped by their environment, an eye for the incident that reveals a character, a deep feeling for the poetry which is a part of everyday life, the sharp and loving clarity of some Dutch master.” – Goronwy Rees

“The greatest novel of anglophone Welsh literature.” – M. Wynn Thomas “The sort of writer who would be in the running for a Nobel Prize if Wales had lobbyists in Stockholm.”  – The Observer

"To acknowledge the scope and magnitude of Humphreys’s literary career ... In terms of sheer range and ambition and single-minded dedication, there isn’t anything comparable to it in modern Welsh writing. As a writer, it seems to me nothing less than astonishing." Tristan Hughes on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

"He has chronicled over a hundred years of Welsh life, part of which – the septet of novels that makes up The Land of the Living – is a kind of prose epic of the last century.

Emyr Humphreys saw himself as a European writer, as a novelist in the tradition of the great European novelists. To be a Welsh writer was, for him, to be a European writer. His Wales did not make sense without Europe.

And indeed it is one of those very cauldrons, belonging to a witch from Bala called Ceridwen, that in a roundabout fashion gives birth to the second, mythical and folkloric, incarnation of that book’s hero – Taliesin. For Emyr Humphreys the survival of Wales as an idea depends on that shape-shifting version of Taliesin, on his genius for adaptation, for finding new forms and combinations and voices, for turning up in fresh disguises. Every time a new Albie or a new Michael or a new Iorweth introduce themselves, the corners of Wales – as they always have – will multiply."

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