Chapter 16. Welsh Literature

Table of Contents

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


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.