Duw’n dal i drio (2)

16 Mai

Fel rwyf wedi dweud droeon ar y blog, bydd Rhagluniaeth, yn weddol reolaidd, yn gyrru pethau i geisio gwylltio’r Cymry a’u deffro i wneud rhywbeth ohoni. I’r pwrpas hwn, un dyn y mae’n defnyddio ychydig arno y dyddiau hyn yw’r colofnydd Roger Lewis. Wele ef ddydd Sadwrn diwethaf, 11 Mai, yn y Daily Telegraph yn ‘adolygu’ llyfr Saesneg newydd ar hanes llenyddiaeth Gymraeg.* Tynnodd cyfaill fy sylw at yr ‘adolygiad’, a dyma bedwar dyfyniad ohono i roi blas.

● ‘The trouble with classic Welsh literature, as expounded in this magisterial volume, is that on the whole it does lack vibrancy and humour, preferring to be dank and dark. The medieval minstrels, such as Dafydd ap Gwilym, Llywelyn Goch ap Meurig Hen and Bleddyn Fardd, for instance, were grim creatures, banging away in their “frontier world” about heroic defeats, loss of land and princely leaders, and the foggy complexity of feudal dynasties.’

● ‘After the Norman Conquest, when castles and monasteries popped up faster than affordable homes, bards were required to sing the praises of victors in battle, a propitiation of warlords. What a horrible place it must have been, with famines and plagues and having to listen to endless sagas about tribal uprisings. Surviving manuscripts, of which The Mabinogion is the best known, contain genealogies of Welsh princes, Latin verse, accounts of saints’ lives, and sundry items of Arthurian magic. “Its atmosphere is melancholy,” we are told – no happiness or whimsy.

● ‘Looked at in a panoramic fashion, the pernicious nationalism of Saunders Lewis – a graduate of Liverpool University who wanted a “politicisation of the language” and who deemed Anglo-Welsh authors, such as Dylan Thomas or David Jones, not authentically Welsh – seems absurd, like insisting that natives of Grimsby communicate in Old Norse.’

● ‘… while I would have welcomed a discussion of Richard Burton and Stanley Baker in the cultural firmament – none the less, it is as crammed with as many riches as a dragon’s cave. Objective, superbly researched, it is the best book ever published about my homeland.’

§

Yn wir, os yw’r llyfr mor ardderchog ag y dywed Mr. Lewis wrth gwt sylwadau fel yr uchod, bron nad yw dyn yn dechrau magu amheuon yn ei gylch. Oes beryg, dywedwch, mai o’r llyfr ei hun, ac nid o ddychymyg rhyfeddol yr ‘adolygydd’, y tardda rhai o’r pethau yr ydym newydd eu darllen? Pe gwir hynny, rwy’n ofni y gallai rhai ohonom warafun y canpunt y mae Gwasg Prifysgol Caergrawnt yn ei ofyn amdano.
* The Cambridge History of Welsh Literature, ed. Geraint Evans and Helen Fulton, 825 pp., Cambridge University Press, £100.

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