Border Country (novel)

Border Country (novel)

infobox Book |
name = Border Country

image_caption =
author = Raymond Williams
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = Novel
publisher = Chatto and Windus
pub_date = 1960
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages =
isbn = ISBN 978-1-902638-81-2
preceded_by =
followed_by = Second Generation

"Border Country" is a novel by Raymond Williams. The book was re-published in December 2005 as one of the first group of titles in the "Library of Wales" series, having been out of print for several years. Written in English, the novel was first published in 1960.

It is set in rural South Wales, close to the border with England, as demarcated by Offa's Dyke. An academic visits his sick father, who was a railway signalman. There are lengthy flashbacks to the 1920s and 1930s, including the 1926 United Kingdom General Strike and the Great Depression in the United Kingdom. Though fiction, it has many points in common with Raymond Williams's own background.

Plot summary

Matthew Price, a university lecturer in economic history, returns from London to visit his sick father in South Wales. The novel is set in the fictional village of Glynmawr in the Black Mountains, a rural area but closely connected to the nearby coal mining valleys of the South Wales coalfield. His father had been a railway signalman, and the story includes lengthy flashbacks to the 1920s and 1930s, including the General Strike and its impact on a small group of railway workers living in a community made up mostly of farmers. It also describes Matthew Price's decision to leave his own community, studying at Cambridge before becoming a lecturer in London.

Major themes

Themes in the novel include social class, the nature of father/son relationships, the concepts of community and belonging, and migration.

The novel describes the economic changes evident in South Wales through the middle years of the twentieth century, including the decline of primary industries such as coalmining and the area's increasing dependence on manufacturing industry. It also considers the growth of entrepreneurship in the strongly socialist communities of South Wales, the closure of the railways and the place of (and respect for) education in South Wales.

Literary significance & criticism

Although the novel is often considered to be a hymn to working class South Wales [cite web | url = | title = Dai Smith discusses Raymond Williams' "Border Country" | accessdate = 4 September | accessyear = 2006] , many readers consider parts of it to be an excoriating commentary on the static nature of life in the Valleys. Readers who, like Matthew, have migrated out of Wales frequently sympathise with his inability to escape the entrenched opinions and historical perceptions held by the villagers who remember his childhood and adolescence. Reinforcing the importance of borders to the novel, Matthew comes to notice a stark dividing line between his identity in Wales, where the locals continue to view him as his father's son, and that in England, where he enjoys his own successful academic career [cite web | url = | title = Sarah Morse writes on "Border Country" in "The Babel Guide to Welsh Literature" | accessdate = 4 September | accessyear = 2006] .

It is not a novel of dramatic events, but rather one which offers an evocative sense of character and place. Matthew Price's life has many parallels with Raymond Williams's own life and background. The Hogarth Press edition of 1988 catches the spirit of it with a front cover showing the signalman and his son, with the signalman's face recognisably that of Raymond Williams as he then was.

The novel features heavy usage of the distinctive South Wales dialect, which readers from outside South Wales may find difficult to follow.


External links

*cite book | author=Williams, Raymond | title=Border Country | publisher=Parthian Books | year=1960 | id=ISBN 978-1-902638-81-2
* [ "Library of Wales" homepage]

ee also

* Raymond Williams
* "Second Generation"
* "The Fight for Manod"

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Border Crossing — may refer to: * Border Crossing (band), a UK hip hop collective musical group. * Border Crossing (novel) , a 2001 novel by English author Pat Barker. * Border control, the measures used by a country to monitor or regulate its borders. * Border… …   Wikipedia

  • Anglo-Scottish border — Border country redirects here. For the novel, see Border Country (novel). Map of the modern border Scotland is to the north and England is to the south …   Wikipedia

  • Second Generation (1964 novel) — Second Generation is a 1964 novel by Raymond Williams, set in the 1960s. The contrasting worlds of the university and the factory, and individuals who try to find their place among contradictory forces. Plot summaryHarold Owen, his brother Gwyn,… …   Wikipedia

  • Novel — For other uses, see Novel (disambiguation). Not to be confused with Novell. New novels in a Oldenburg bookshop, February 2009 …   Wikipedia

  • novel — novel1 novellike, adj. /nov euhl/, n. 1. a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes. 2. (formerly) novella (def. 1). [1560 70; …   Universalium

  • Border Legion (Shannara) — The Border Legion is the army of the fictional country of Callahorn, [ Sword Pages 590 591] in the epic fantasy [cite web |url= |title=Terry Brooks official website|accessdate=2008 05 02 |last= Speakman …   Wikipedia

  • Clannad (Visual Novel) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Clannad. Clannad [[Image:Fichier:Clannad game cover.jpg|274px|]] クラナド (Kuranado) Genre drame, fantasy, harem, romance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • No Country for Old Men (film) — No Country for Old Men Theatrical release poster Directed by Joel Coen Ethan Coen …   Wikipedia

  • No Country for Old Men — For the film, see No Country for Old Men (film). No Country for Old Men   …   Wikipedia

  • The Wonderful Country — Infobox Book name = The Wonderful Country title orig = translator = image caption = author = Tom Lea illustrator = Tom Lea cover artist = Tom Lea country = language = series = subject = Mexican American Border Region Fugitives from justice genre …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”