Hugh Pryce

J. E. Lloyd and the Creation of Welsh History

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This is the first intellectual biography of John Edward Lloyd (1861–1947), widely regarded as the founder of the modern academic study of Welsh history. Indeed, the compliment that pleased him most was that he had 'created Welsh history'. Published to mark the centenary of Lloyd's most important book, A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest (1911), the study reassesses Lloyd's significance by setting his work in its multiple contexts. Part One gives an account of his life, with particular emphasis on his upbringing, education and subsequent career as a historian, viewed against the background both of efforts to give expression to Welsh nationhood through educational institutions and of wider developments in the professionalization of historical scholarship. In Part Two the focus shifts from the biographical to the thematic and examines why Lloyd privileged the early and medieval Welsh past and how he depicted this in his 1911 History. These chapters investigate key themes in Lloyd's interpretation with reference not only to previous accounts of Welsh history but also to the broader intellectual and scholarly context of his own time. Through its reappraisal of Lloyd the book provides a case study of how the past of a small, stateless nation was reconfigured, at a time of self-conscious national revival, through deploying modern canons of scholarship that served to legitimize a new narrative of national origins. It thus offers a fresh and distinctive perspective on issues of broad significance in modern European historiography and intellectual history.
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386 printed pages

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