• Liberating Britain from Foreign Bondage: A Welsh Revision of the Wars of the Roses in L. M. Spooner’s Gladys of Harlech; or, The Sacrifice (1858)

    Rita Singer (see profile)
    English Literature, Historiography, History, Victorian Studies, Women also Know Literature
    English literature--Welsh authors, English literature, Fiction, Nineteenth century, Historical fiction, British literature
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Wales, Tudor Court, 19th-Century/Victorian Medievalism, biculturalism, Welsh writing in English, Nineteenth-century fiction
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    In the ten years following the publication of the infamous Reports on the State of Education in Wales (1847) that had classified the Welsh population as a vice-ridden nation of working-class drunkards and promiscuous hoydens, the middle-classes in Wales strongly rejected this Anglo-centric condemnation at first in the press and, later on, in literature. In her seminal study The Language of the Blue Books: Wales and Colonial Prejudice (2011), Gwyneth Tyson Roberts gives a detailed account of the colonial attitude behind this English inquiry into Welsh education and also uncovers the paradoxical nature behind the Welsh response to the report, which soon acquired the moniker Blue Books owing to their blue binding. The public displays of Welsh outrage only went to confirm the assumed moral superiority of the English middle-classes as well as imposition of English as the language of the public sphere. It is during these years of heated debate that Louisa Matilda Spooner, a native to Merionethshire with English roots, wrote Gladys of Harlech; or, The Sacrifice (1858) and published it anonymously. This historical novel expresses the desire of the English-speaking middle classes in Wales for a positive representation of their national community in contemporary Anglophone literature against the accusations in the commissioners’ Reports.
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    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
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