Saunders Lewis

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Saunders Lewis (born John Saunders Lewis) (15 October 1893 - 1 September 1985) was a Welsh poet, dramatist, historian, literary critic, and political activist. He was a prominent Welsh nationalist and a founder of the Welsh National Party (later known as Plaid Cymru). Lewis is usually acknowledged to have been among the most prominent figures of twentieth-century Welsh-language literature. Lewis was a 1970 Nobel nominee for literature, and in 2005 was voted 10th as Wales' 'greatest-ever person' in a BBC Wales poll.[1]


Early life

Born into a Welsh family living in Wallasey, England, in 1893, Lewis was studying English and French at Liverpool University when the First World War broke out. After serving as an officer with the South Wales Borderers he returned to university to graduate in English.

In 1922, he was appointed as a lecturer in Welsh at the University College of Wales, Swansea. During his time at Swansea he produced some of his most exciting works of literary criticism: A School of Welsh Augustans (1924), Williams Pantycelyn (1927), and Braslun o hanes llenyddiaeth Gymraeg (=An outline history of Welsh literature) (1932).

Founding Plaid Cymru

His experiences in World War I, and his sympathy for the cause of Irish independence, brought him to Welsh nationalism, and in 1925 he met with H.R. Jones and Lewis Valentine and others at a 1925 National Eisteddfod meeting, held in Pwllheli, Gwynedd, with the aim of establishing a Welsh party.[2]

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