Hidden Texts, Hidden Nation

BookHidden Texts, Hidden Nation

Hidden Texts, Hidden Nation

(Re)Discoveries of Wales in Travel Writing in French and German (1780-2018)


June 24th, 2020

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This book explores the representation of Wales and ‘Welshness’ in texts by French- (including Breton) and German-speaking travellers from 1780 to the present day. Since the emergence of the travel narrative as a popular source of information and entertainment in the mid-18th century, writing about Wales has often been embedded and hidden in accounts of travel to ‘England’. This book locates and presents these largely forgotten texts and broadens perspectives to encompass European perceptions. Works uncovered for the first time include travelogues, private correspondences, travel diaries, articles and blogs which have Wales or Welsh culture as their focus. The ‘travellers’ analysed in this volume include those travelling for the purpose of leisure, scholarship or commerce as well as exiles and refugees. By focusing on Wales, a minoritized nation at the geographical periphery of Europe, the authors are able to problematize notions of hegemony and identity, relating to both the places encountered (the ‘travellee’ culture) and the places of origin (the travellers’ cultures). This book thereby makes an original contribution to studies in travel writing and provides an important case study of a culture often minoritized in the field, but that nevertheless provides a telling illustration of the dynamics of intercultural relations and representation.

‘This rich, readable book surveys almost 250 years of writing by European travellers to Wales, from private letters to conventionally published works to contemporary digital forms. It broaches a remarkable, original field of research, encompasses a wide historical, linguistic, and critical range, and presents an impressive array of materials previously invisible to scholarship.’
Mererid Puw Davies, Modern Language Review

Author Information

Kathryn Jones is an Associate Professor of French at Swansea University. Carol Tully is a Professor of German and the Pro-Vice Chancellor at Bangor University. Heather Williams is a Research Fellow at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Introduction: Hidden Texts, Hidden Nation9
1. Landscape, Industry, Piety: Wales as a Site of Inspiration in Travel Writing in French from 1780 to 190535
2. Patriotism, Pan-Celticism and the Welsh Cultural Paradigm in Travel Writing in French from 1830 to 190075
3. Periphery, Modernity and the Discovery of Wales in Travel Writing in German from 1790 to 1850121
4. Identity, Celtomania and the Narrative of Wales in Travel Writing in German from 1850 to 1905163
5. Safe Haven, Literary Paradise and Present-Day Adventureland: Wales in Travel Writing in Breton, French and German from 1945 to 2018197
Conclusion: The Narrative of Wales: From Blind Spot to Blank Canvas243