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My People by Caradoc Evans
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My People

by Caradoc Evans

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Caradoc Evans' collection of short stories, My People, is rather hard to like. It focuses on the common Welsh people, fiercely satirising them and the Nonconformist church, in the time he was writing -- around 1915. He's rather brutal, honestly: the people he describes are simple, even stupid, and ignorance and what they considered to be sin, and hypocrisy, abound. He makes them sound stupider by the way he chooses to represent the language: instead of simply writing what they'd say in idiomatic English, he translates it literally.

It's very discomforting reading, but interesting, and one has to be wary of taking it at face value. Still, I can understand why Welsh people detested it -- and I shudder to imagine why English people at the time of publication loved it so much. "Yay, another piece of evidence that the Welsh are immoral, ignorant scum."

It is surprisingly easy to read, though, despite the very odd syntax and the discomforting subject matter. The edition I read also comes with a helpful introduction. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
This is a great book. It is a collection of stories about the lives of working people in Wales in the early 1900's. The culture is dominated by the religion which is very patriarchal, autocratical & harsh. The stories dramatize the situation of women, who are treated as beasts of burden and breeders. It shows how people's lives are stunted by the poverty and the religion and the ignorance. I'm sure all life wasn't always like this but there is an essential truth here.
  franoscar | Nov 20, 2007 |
Biblical and harsh. Definitely worth reading, even if just a story or two.

http://sycoraxpine.blogspot.com/2006/09/great-expectations-book-132-and-24.html ( )
  sycoraxpine | Sep 4, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0907476813, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:14 -0400)

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