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interference in matters that the Commons regarded as their own. In the long-term, however, he was accurately describing a situation that deserves more serious study. The publication of this volume will help that process. L. G. MITCHELL University College, Oxford GORONWY OWEN. By Branwen Jarvis. University of Wales Press, Cardiff, on behalf of the Welsh Arts Council, 1986. Pp. 93. £ 3.50. 'There is no modern edition of the works of Goronwy Owen', says the biblio- graphy, indicating Goronwy's status as a true classic, admired, even hero- worshipped, but not read. Yet there was a time when collections of his verse were re-printed frequently, his letters treasured and edited, and many phrases from his poems have become household words in Welsh. Branwen Jarvis has taken him as the subject of this short and elegantly-written study in the 'Writers of Wales' series. It required considerable courage to do so, because it would be hard to find an author who is remoter from modern taste, a man Augustan in feeling, Miltonic in his search for the epic and heroic, neo-classical in his aesthetic ideas and tastes, and, in addition, a convinced Christian writing in loftily archaic language in medieval Welsh verse- forms. Goronwy Owen was born to a poor family in Anglesey in 1723 and died in America in 1769. Having shown great skill as a scholar and poet in his youth, and having become a protégé of the three Morris brothers of Anglesey, Goronwy became a cleric, and for much of his life held various curacies in England. A perverse and difficult character, he took to drink, and, leaving his creditors behind him, eventually emigrated to Virginia where he became for a while a lecturer at Williamsburg, dying as a clergyman and tobacco-planter. Mrs. Jarvis deals with his life without the sentimentality of earlier biographies, which tended to romanticise Goronwy's 'exile' from Wales. She shows how important Goronwy's work as a poet was, coming as it did at the tail-end of a sadly impoverished tradition, taking as he did the remains of Welsh medieval classical verse, and giving it a new vigour and intellectual force and raising its status in the eyes of the Welsh by widening its vocabulary and giving it a sense of high seriousness. These things he did by extensive use of archaic words and forms, and adapting to the Welsh tradition the epic and heroic modes of Homer, Virgil and Milton. She also draws attention to what has perhaps been neglected in his work, his letters. These were written in a lively jumble of English and Welsh, are often a racy and entertaining comment on contemporary life, and are witty and fascinating letters from an age of great letter-writing; but many of them contain an intelligent critique of literature, ancient and contemporary. They were much copied and admired at the time, and some of them printed within a few decades of his death. Circulating in manuscript and then read and discussed in print, the letters provided the basis for