VOLUME XVII WELSH OUTLOOK Where there is no vision the people perish NOTES OF THE MONTH WE have very little hesitation in saying tnat the most significant event during the National Eisteddfod week at Llan- elly was the very frank declaration by Professor Ivor Williams as to the danger of pedantic im- positions, largely through academic influences, on the literary use of the Welsh language to-day. At the moment we have to depend for our in- formation on the brief reports of his address which have appeared in the daily and weekly press, but we profoundly hope that Professor Williams will soon publish his thesis, and if necessary, in an expanded form. His contention is not a new one, as our readers will be aware, although he gave it a somewhat novel form in his address. In his view the present emphasis on archaic correctitude is impoverishing Welsh literature, and indeed it may turn out to be a real danger even to the spoken language. He there- fore pleaded for more freedom in the use of the language and a greater approximation to its spoken forms, especially by our prose writers. The discipline of careful reference to past usages and strict forms he still considers necessary for the poets-a view which we hardly think would be endorsed in critical circles in England and on the Continent, where great emphasis is laid on the necessity for creativeness even in linguistic forms. But this is to strain at the gnat. It is of the highest importance and value that a scholar of such a standing as Professor Williams should at this moment raise a voice of protest against the archaic extravagances of some of oui* younger writers. It is quite true that the last half of the nineteenth century witnessed a perfect orgy of mutilation and torture of our language and of its idiom in the vernacular press, and a NUMBER IX THE SEPTEMBER 1930 reaction was inevitable. But it has run wild and more than wild. O. M. Edwards to our mind indicated the true and happy mean. He thought in Welsh,he wrote in Welsh with an inimitable ease and grace, and he never wrote a phrase which the simplest peasant could not understand and appreciate. His facility and simplicity laid him open to the charge of superficiality by those who confound profundity with obscurity, with the result that to-day a vast proportion of our cur- rent literature, produced by those obsessed with this confusion, is, if profound, almost, if not at times quite, unintelligible. And more, a kind of critical and supercilious superiority has come into existence which has effectively sterilized the creative faculties of the common people of Wales, who are frightened to write their own speech. This curse can and must be raised. Professor Williams in his Llanellv speech has given a new courage to those who have been trying to fight against it. THERE has been a good deal of chatter in the daily press about the withholding of some of the awards at the Llanelly Eis- teddfod, particularly in the case of the English poetry competition where a prize of ten guineas had been offered for a volume of verse. Some argue that if a prize is offered it ought to be awarded, whatever the standard attained. Others, that the decision to withhold involves a stigma on the work of the forty (anonymous) poets who competed. One suggestion is that Welshmen are not good critics of English poetry. Another, that Mr. Prys Jones and Huw Menai, the adju- dicators of this competition, might reasonably have declined to act on the score that they would