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Title: The view from the fountain head : the rise and fall of John Gwenogvryn Evans
Author: Grant, Angela
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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John Gwenogvryn Evans was an important figure in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Welsh Celtic Studies, because he published accurate diplomatic editions of medieval manuscripts that are still used today. He also compiled an important and detailed Report on Welsh Manuscripts for the Historic Manuscripts Commission that was of significant utility to scholars of his day, and still has uses for its detailed description of manuscripts. His extraordinary talent for accuracy in the reproduction of medieval script came to the attention of John Rhŷs, then Professor of Celtic at Jesus College, Oxford. Through Rhŷs he was exposed to the best scholarship of his day, and with the assistance of scholars such as Egerton Phillimore and John Morris Jones, he was enabled to produce work of enduring value. Due to his limited training in Welsh linguistics, and in research methodology, there were, from the start, serious flaws in his interpretation of early Welsh. Later, on losing contact with academic influences due to unwise actions, he fell into a pseudoscientific mentality more common earlier in the 19th century, seeking to find historical fact in poetry of legend and prophecy. Major errors arose from his later inclination to consider the date of a manuscript and the date of the content to be identical, and the ridicule that resulted from his 'amendments and translations' to early poetry so undermined his credibility that he never completed the full range of his intended series of texts. This study traces the origins, manifestations, and consequences of his dual nature through seven chapters. It considers the value of his solid earlier work, and balances it against the follies of his later translations, and seeks to give a fairer view of the value of his work to his own generation, and to those that followed on from him.
Supervisor: Charles-Edwards, Thomas Mowbray Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biography ; Manuscripts ; Diplomatic editions ; Celtic Studies ; Palaeography