Words about words (in English and Welsh) about deeds not words

This is a paper I wrote in 2013, as part of a project to mark the anniversary of some ‘suffragette’ incidents in Bristol and elsewhere. Clearly, I never quite got around to tidying it up into a state suitable for submission to a journal. Maybe I will, one day, but, having come upon it as I clear out my home of many years, I thought I would put it out there in the world at least, and maybe it will be of interest to people looking for material on the suffrage campaign, on Abergavenny, or on Wales. I have more material on this, and especially a number of intriguing suffragette-related poems in Welsh to finish turning into English, but I think there are some points which can be made now (and, realistically, I have my hands full for the next few months, so, unless the whole thing is to be put back behind the back-burner, it feels like time to offer it up to the silent void). A bit of Swedish death cleaning (except, not off just yet, and in English/Welsh, not Swedish).

Coming back to these stories after a decade, two things strike me. First of all, the issue of a clash between different groups, with different claims to a history of bad treatment, brought into conflict, which we see in the ‘Suffragettes v. Eisteddfodwyr’ tension, has come to resonate even more than it did in 2013. I am not of the view that history has direct, simple, lessons for the present, but it is certainly interesting to think about the compound clash of identities involved in the episodes to be considered here – sex/gender, class, language, nation – all taking place in the fluid border country of Monmouthshire, which happens to be my native soil.

Off it goes … far from perfect, but has its good points …

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Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash