Ffion Jones, Welsh Ballads of the French Revolution (1793–1815)Welsh Ballads of the French Revolution (1793–1815) provides an edition, with parallel English translations, of Welsh-language ballads composed in reaction to the momentous events of the Revolution in France and the two decades of war which followed. Ballad writers were first spurred to respond in 1793, when the French monarchs were executed, France declared war upon Britain, and paranoia regarding the possible threat of internal revolt in Britain reached a crisis point. As the decade proceeded, ballads were sung in thanks for the victory of British forces and local people against an invasion of Pembrokeshire by French troops, and in reaction to key naval battles and to the extensive mobilization of militia and volunteer forces.
Scholars working on the British response to the Revolution have showed increasing interest in exploring the contents of ballads and songs. The ballad in particular is seen as a vital source of information, since it represents ordinary people’s awareness of the developments of the period. Balladry is also subject to continued research within Welsh scholarship, and this volume, with its focus on a clearly defined historical period and its revelation of new voices within the canon of Welsh ballad writers, will drive this field of study forwards.
Regional reactions to the Revolution within the British Isles are also now seen as crucially important, but Wales, partly because of the inaccessibility of material composed in the Welsh language, has repeatedly been omitted from the general picture. This volume aids in rectifying this situation, ensuring (by use of translation, copious contextualizing notes, and a lengthy introduction) that both the ballad genre and Welsh reactions receive the attention they deserve from lay readers and scholars alike.
Welsh Ballads of the French Revolution 1793-1815 by Ffion Mair Jones £24.99, PB 9780708324615, 234x156 mm, 464 pp, 4 illustrations plus Music scores. Published February 2012.
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