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By Geraint H. Jenkins

An industrious educational and charmingly eccentric Romantic poet and forger, Iolo Morganwg (1747-1846) left at the back of a floor-to-ceiling stack of unpublished manuscripts in his small Welsh cottage. A Rattleskull Genius, in response to that trove of unpublished fabric now held on the nationwide Library of Wales, presents either a party and a serious reassessment of the writer and his contributions to Welsh cultural culture.

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Extra resources for A Rattleskull Genius: The Many Faces of Iolo Morganwg (University of Wales Press - Iolo Morganwg and the Romantic Tradition)

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102 At Gelli-gaer an innkeeper assaulted him, crying: ‘Damn you, you follow or attend, the Backsides of Parsons (or Clergymen). You shall have no bed here nor Tea either nor any thing else’ (‘Dammo chwi, dilyn tinau’r offeiriaid yr ydych chwi. 104 Iolo’s unconventional demeanour and provocative behaviour often brought out the worst in others. Yet, even this tetchy rebel with a cause had an affectionate and tender side to his character. This hitherto neglected theme is explored in Cathryn A. Charnell-White’s study of women and gender in his private and social 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 G.

Rhagymadroddion 1547–1659 (Caerdydd, 1951), p. 119. In the eighteenth century, Theophilus Evans’s popular Drych y Prif Oesoedd (Mirror of the First Ages), published in 1716 but best known in its 1740 second edition, vigorously expounded the same view of early history. His creative Romanticism produced a movement strong enough to have its own momentum, powerful enough to allow it to coexist with contradictory historical truths. The aggrandizement of localities, counties in particular, was a marked cultural feature of the eighteenth century.

NLW 21387E, no. 23. See chapters 21 and 22 below. 25 26 ON THE TRAIL OF A ‘RATTLESKULL GENIUS’: INTRODUCTION brought a substantial amount of Iolo’s writings, especially on bardism and druidism, into the public domain. In so doing, he ensured that Iolo’s posthumous reputation attained mythological proportions. When Evan Davies (Myfyr Morganwg), who claimed to be the authentic successor of Iolo as archdruid of Wales, collaborated with John Williams (Ab Ithel) in engineering the spectacular Gorsedd ceremony held at the famous Llangollen eisteddfod in September 1858, the bardo-druidic vision of Iolo reached its apogee.

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