The Welsh Language"
From Our Welsh Correspondent
The Court of Governors of the University of Wales has decided to abolish the Chair of Welsh Literature at Aberystwyth. For many years this Chair has been held by Professor T. Gwynn Jones — scholar, poet, critic — who might long ago have been awarded the 0.M., if not the Nobel Prize, had he written in any other language than Welsh. In future, the Professor of Welsh Language will be responsible for Welsh Literature as well.
This is the only Chair of Welsh Literature in the world," said Miss Kate Roberts in a letter of protest published in the Western Mail. "But it is an exception," said the bureaucrats. " And in any case the Professor of Language and his staff are well able to take over Professor Gwynn Jones's work." Its abolition will mean, incidentally, an economy of £800 a year, hut Philistines do not talk about cash in their public speeches.
The Candidate in Gaol To make their case stronger, the Court declared that it would be almost impossible to find any Welsh scholar worthy to follow in the great tradition created by Professor Gwynn Jones. Almost impossible; they spoke more wisely than they knew. for there is one man alone who is universally acknowledged to be the obvious successor, and he is Mr. Saunders Lewis, at present in gaol. The Court have contrived to avoid the embarrassment of considering his unique claim to the appointment.
" Wales has no capital city other than the Welsh language," said Mr. Ambrose Bebb at a recent meeting in London. Professor Gruffydd made the same point when he contrasted the culture of a generation
or more ago in rural Wales ("a society of poor people who yet formed the truest aristocracy ") with the educated ignorance and bastard gentility of those same places now that the Welsh language is dead or dying.
And this is the time chosen by the Governors of a University which was largely founded by the pence of the poor of whom Professor Gruffydd spoke, to abolish one of the main bulwarks of Welsh culture.
Can one conceive of the Chair of English Literature at Oxford or London being abolished because " the Professor of Language could do both jobs quite satisfactorily -? Of course the Professor could, but his office exists in its own right. It is an acknowledgement of the dignity of Literature, of its essential place in any educational system.
The Professional Orators It is the disinherited and unpopular. as always in Wales, who are left to fight the battle. The people of high 'place. who make patriotic speeches on St. David's Day and address Anglo-Welsh masonic banquets on the glory of a language that they cannot speak, continue to be the traitors.
They must not complain if cultured opinion abandons their Eisteddfodau and Universities once and for all.
Already, most of the writing that matters in Wales is a revulsion against their bogus culture and their hearty assurances that all is well for Wales.
All may be well when seen from the windows of the National Liberal Club. But the vistas of Wales are not Westminster and Whitehall.