Book Description

FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED BY AUTHOR. 8vo, pp. [viii], 199, [1]. Fawn cloth, spine lettered in gilt. Extremities bruised and rubbed, fine bands of sunning to board edges, small bald patch to bottom board. Top edge a little dusty and spotted. Inscribed by Davies in the year of publication in blue pen to title page: “To David/ – one running Welsh/ hare to another? –/ from Rhys/ (London) 1969.”, trace of rust to rear endpapers. Clutch of ephemera laid in, comprising: two clipped obituaries of Davies, a 2-page clipped photocopy of 1975 Who’s Who entry for the author, 1 1/4 A4 page hand-written draft, seemingly the final section of a speech or piece celebrating Davies, perhaps by Rees? and 1 A4 page TLS (30.10.1996) to Dylans Bookshop, Swansea from Rees inquiring about selling this book. Else, clean and tight. In the original dust jacket: toned, a few marks, creasing to spine ends, closed tear to heel, taped on reverse. A grand association copy, uniting two friends, each of significance to the C20th literary landscape of Wales.
Dealer Notes
Dubbed ‘the Welsh Chekhov’, Rhys Davies (1901-1978; OBE) was a prolific and prize-winning author, who chronicled working class life, especially of industrial Wales and especially women’s lives, including, in his later career, lesbians. He is known predominantly for his short stories.
David Rees (1928-2004), Davies’ friend and inscribee, was a Welsh journalist, critic and, disparately, a scholar of both Welsh history and letters and international relations. He played an important role in situating Davies in the C20th Welsh literary landscape: in 1959 he published a “laudatory article” in the periodical Wales, ‘Rhys Davies: Professional Author,’ and would go on to write the first monograph on Davies for the Writers of Wales series in 1975. Suggestively, the hand-written draft references the debate about the importance of Davies’ novels versus his short stories, which was the substance of Rees’ 1959 article.
While Rees doesn’t appear in the autobiography, which ends in the late 1930s and is notoriously light on names and relationships anyhow, he played a role in its production, accompanying Davies to Carmarthen (where the book opens), the author’s first visit since 1938. The pair also drove up the Cothi Valley together (see Stephens, 2013). None of which explains, however, the question in Davies’ inscription. If Rees is only questionably a “running Welsh hare”, in his review of the book, Gwyn Thomas thought Davies one: “He is certainly the hare of his title. One sees his foot-mark in the snow of his chilly experience, but the man himself, even in the act of self-revelation is hard to come by. A great storyteller always finds it hard to shed the last sardonic veil of mystification and obliquity.” (cited in Stephens, 2013). More recent criticism has read Davies’ obliquity as a lifelong conscious and artful veiling of his homosexuality (see Stephens, 2013).
Meic Stephens (2013) Rhys Davies: A writer’s life. Cardigan: Parthian.
Author DAVIES, Rhys; [REES, David]
Date 1969
Publisher London: Heinemann
Condition Very good/ good+

Price: £125.00

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