Mary-Ann Constantine & Dafydd Johnston (eds.),'Footsteps of Liberty & Revolt': Essays on Wales and the French Revolution (Cardiff, 2013)
This collection of essays by leading scholars explores the turbulent 1790s from a Welsh perspective. As rapidly shifting events in France provoked a range of international responses, literature, religion, history and landscape became vehicles for political expression - and sites of contention. Drawing on a wealth of material in English and Welsh, much of it unpublished, this volume brings into sharp new focus many of the tensions and flashpoints of Romantic-era Wales.
'A fillip to (so-called) "four nations" engagements with the period, Footsteps of Liberty & Revolt reveals Wales to have been a dynamic player in the great ideological debate occasioned by the French Revolution. Offering culturally and linguistically plural views - a nuanced cartography - the essays in this collection show how invention, customisation and translation gave the master themes of the age a specifically Welsh modality. Profiled here are the broad range of forms and positions taken by Welsh responses (indigenous and expatriate) to revolution, from "piping hot" radicals to horrified reactionaries, from sermons to songs, poems to pamphlets. Also conjured are the human stories that remind us that the Revolution's "big ideas" were not merely theoretical, but had profound conseqences on the ground. Above all, Wales emerges here as vitally connected - a vigorous agent in a European and Atlantic controversy whose inheritors we are.'
Professor Damian Walford Davies, Aberystwyth University