Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Welsh writting and postcoloniality : the strategic use of the Blodeuwedd myth in Emyr Humphreys's novels

Diane Green

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2003.16.10

Abstract

This essay explores ways in which the literature of the nation of Wales may be discussed in postcolonial terms given that it has existed for centuries in an ambiguous position with regard to colonization. Welsh identity is a complex issue, given its intrinsic connections with the Welsh language, which is only spoken by a minority of Welsh people. This essay focuses on the use of indigenous myth as a ‘strategy of liberation’. Emyr Humphreys is the major novelist of Welsh writing in English. His novels use myth, particularly Celtic myths, in a wide range of ways. One myth, the story of Blodeuwedd, is used by Humphreys throughout his career. This essay explores the reasons for his use of the myth and the ways it interconnects with the use of disabled characters and dysfunctional families. The advantages of using indigenous myth are balanced against the disadvantages of recalling the past (which is the site of colonization) and presenting women as sinful and disruptive and men as weak, whilst simultaneously promoting a matriarchal society in an attempt to undermine patriarchy/ empire. The essay concludes that the concentrated use of this particular myth is probably counter-productive.

Keywords

Literatura galesa; Humphreys, Emyr; Mitología celta; Blodeuwedd; Literatura feminista



DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2003.16.10

Copyright (c) 2003 Diane Green

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