Marion Löffler reviews Pam Na Fu Cymru by Simon Brooks

Pam Na Fu Cymru

UWP, £16.99

Pam Na Fu Cymru – ‘Why Wales Never Was’ – is the second volume in the ‘Safbwyntiau’ series of Welsh-language titles on politics, culture and society published by University of Wales Press and also the second in the author’s own projected trilogy on different aspects of Welsh history and nationhood. It impresses by the depth and width of its scholarship and the stringent pursuit of its argument. Excitingly European in outlook and at the same time thoroughly grounded in Welsh culture and learning, it is quite obviously the fruit of years of researching nineteenth-century European nationalism, especially in eastern Europe, and considering its implications for a Wales which, although it seemed to possess every prerequisite, never developed a national mass movement for the emancipation of the Welsh language and the establishment of an independent civic entity, a state. Its author Simon Brooks is that by now rare breed of intellectual for whom explaining the world to those who care to listen takes precedence over earning a living or swimming with the mainstream. Welsh culture affords poets pride of place; in Germany this falls to people like Brooks, who by challenging received wisdom constitute the conscience of the nation.

Sign in to read more
Subscribe here