File NLW MS 23785E. - Excelsior gan Saunders Lewis,

Identity area

Reference code

NLW MS 23785E.

Title

Excelsior gan Saunders Lewis,

Date(s)

  • [1962]-1980 / (Creation)

Level of description

File

Extent and medium

82 ff. Guarded and filed at NLW.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Saunders Lewis, dramatist, poet, historian and literary critic, was born in Wallasey, Cheshire to a family of prominent Welsh Calvinistic Methodists. He was educated at a boys's school in Liscard and at Liverpool University, where he studied English and French. His academic career was interrupted by the First World War, in which Lewis served with the South Wales Borderers, but he quickly resumed his studies at the end of the conflict, and, having graduated, worked as librarian in Glamorgan before taking up a post as lecturer in the Welsh department of the University College of Swansea. In 1925, Lewis was one of the pioneering figures involved in establishing the National Party of Wales (later known as Plaid Cymru) and was made President of the fledgeling organisation the following year. Having written about the Roman Catholic church for a number of years, in 1932 Lewis converted to the faith also practised by his wife Margaret. In 1936, Lewis, D. J. Williams and Lewis Valentine set fire to the Royal Airforce's Bombing School in Penyberth on the Lleyn Peninsula, an event which has gone down in the annals of Welsh history and which earned Lewis imprisonment in Wormwood Scrubs and dismissal from his lecturing post in Swansea. He was eventually appointed senior lecturer in Welsh at the University of Cardiff but retired in 1957 to devote his time to writing. Lewis's litarary output is prodigious and he is considered by many to be the most important Welsh literary and political figure of the twentieth century; it is considered that his radio address for 1962, Tynged yr Iaith, was the direct instigating force behind the establishment of the Welsh language movement Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Dylans Bookstore; Swansea; Purchase; August 1999; B1999/18.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

A typescript copy, [1962]-1979, of Saunders Lewis's Welsh play 'Excelsior', first published Swansea, 1980, with corrections in the author's hand (ff. 1-56); together with correspondence, 1980, in English and Welsh, of the publisher Christopher Davies, regarding its publication in view of the allegation, when broadcast in 1962, that it libelled the Rev. Llywelyn Williams, MP (ff. 57-81).
The typescript consists of pages from the original script, [1962], transmitted on BBC TV on St David's Day 1962 (ff. 5-16, 20-21, 42-51), interspersed with revised sections, [1979], for an abortive stage version (ff. 17-19, 22-41, 52-56), and the new Preface for the published volume, April 1980 (ff. 2-4). The correspondence consists of nineteen letters, April-October 1980, including copies and drafts, mostly between Saunders Lewis, Christopher Davies, Sir Alun Talfan Davies and Glyndwr Williams, brother of Llywelyn Williams. A cutting of Clive Betts' article, 'Saunders Lewis publishes play BBC abandoned' (Western Mail, 1 December 1980, p. 9), is on f. 82. The 1962 and 1980 versions of the play both appear in Dramâu Saunders Lewis: Y Casgliad Cyflawn, Cyfrol 2, ed. by Ioan M. Williams (Cardiff, 2000), pp. 273-414.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions noted on the 'Modern papers - data protection' form issued with their Readers' Tickets.

Conditions governing reproduction

Usual copyright laws apply.

Language of material

  • Welsh
  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Welsh, English.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Other plays by Saunders Lewis are NLW MSS 22952-54C, 22956-62.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Note

Original title.

Note

Preferred citation: NLW MS 23785E.

Alternative identifier(s)

Virtua system control number

vtls004051772

GEAC system control number

(WlAbNL)0000051772

Access points

Place access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru = The National Library of Wales

Rules and/or conventions used

Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

June 2010.

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Sources

Archivist's note

Description revised by Rhys Morgan Jones;

Accession area