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My People [Paperback]

Caradoc Evans , John Harris
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Feb 1995
The appearance of My People in 1915 caused a literary sensation. In England critics praised it as a work of art comparable with Zola and new writers such as Joyce. In Evans's native Wales there was outrage at his portrayal of rural west Wales. Instantly Evans became the most reviled man in his country: his books were burned, his plays disrupted. For his astonishing attack on what he perceived to be a corrupt Liberal Nonconformist hierarchy Evans created a mean world with particular clarity. Its leaders appear as amoral demons speaking a language of literally translated Welsh and Old Testament phrases, using the Bible to justify acts of gross hypocrisy and self-gratification. The fate of its downtrodden victims has appalled and fascinated readers for over eighty years. This edition includes John Harris's informative essay on the background to these classic stories.

Product details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Seren; New edition edition (23 Feb 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0907476813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0907476818
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Banned Burned Book of War" 27 Nov 2003
By A Customer
When "My People" was published in 1915, it became a book that was acclaimed by the English and detested by the Welsh. Evans uses his novel to portray the religious upheaval that Wales was undergoing. His use of Welsh-English dialogue and purposely incorrect translations is a technique that caused outrage within the Welsh rural community. The book contains fifteen stories, all inter-related outlining the lives of the inhabitants of Manteg. "My People" also details the customs and traditions unique to the locality, but it's handling of such beliefs gave it an "anti-Welsh" perspective. This is not a book that is easily read by those who have no grasp of the Welsh language as it has the ability to lose its genius to those who do not understand its purpose.
It cannot be doubted that this book highlighted the chasm between the Welsh and the English; on the one hand it was described as "the best literature that came out of Wales," but on the other, Welsh reaction to the book was severely hostile.
This is a book that caused a literary sensation and was critically acclaimed as a text worthy of comparison with the work of famous writers such as James Joyce.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars West Walian wonder........ 20 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Finished on a springlike morn and how glad I am to have found and read this short collection of west walian tales from over 80 years back. Seren Classics have beautifully packaged this slim volume,with old pictures and a long essay on the background to these tales.
Evans,a journalist from Carmarthenshire,has created a dark world of spiritual anguish,fed by the local non-comformist chapels who lord over their subjects with austere biblical manners. The language is that of the bible,fused with welsh sayings,vernacular phrases and cadences. There are about 12 little stories all concerned with the local area of Carmarthenshire where he grew up.
In some the action is almost viciously dark and bleak, old Nanni who dies with her face being eaten by rats,the preacher who keeps his mad wife confined to his hayloft,the young lover who kills his girl and her tempter alongside cardigan bay. In other tales it is more subtle but this a bleakly realistic work,Evans rarely lets the true face of welsh peasantry be covered by a lace veil and while in some places this seems very unforgiving,in others it makes you think of how the religious authorities in west wales had replaced the landowners with their codes of conduct and blind faith.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a fun but unsympathetic view of rural Wales 16 Jun 2010
A collection of short stories that give an unsympathetic view of the people of rural Wales and which made its author rather notorious. The characters are devious, hypocritical, lustful, greedy and not always very intelligent. It's all a little over the top but great fun.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old Angry Young Man 9 Aug 2006
By Cabellero - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is of historical interest. Its attack on Welsh chapel religion caused a furor when it was first published. The book consists of short stories which illustrate man's inhumanity to man, religious bigotry and the ill treatment of women. The author presumably was expressing his personal feelings about the treatment of his widowed mother and her children. The topic of religion in Wales seems of little relevance today now that most of the chapels are closed. Well written and worth reading especially by students of Welsh social history.
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