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Via ".@eenderinwales"

Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.Before I chat about the book I should explain how it was purchased.

A few weeks back I was going through the spam filter of my email. Normally they are full of offers or forthcoming programmes on (insert channel here) but I hadn’t gone through this in months. Much to surprise there was an email dated August from the Honno press. Where they explained what their publishing house does and offered to send me review copies of some of their publications.

Now I declined their kind offer. Because whatever the value of my opinions are the one thing I would want the readers of this blog to be assured by is that when I chat about a book it’s either been bought or borrowed from a library. However I was tardy in responding to them.

And….

Honno Press specialises in books by female Welsh writers in English. Honno Classics brings back such work which has been out of print to a new audience of readers. I was conscious that whilst the choice of books I read is deliberately random aside from passing references to Dylan Thomas for a blog that also discusses things Welsh this was an omission.

So because of these two things I promised Honno that during the Christmas period I would buy one of their books. Which I did.

The book I chose was this originally published in 2007:

The Very Salt Of Life – Edited by Jane Aaron and Ursula Masson

It covers a period from roughly the 1830’s to the 1930’s. It makes you realise how “second class citizens” women truly were in that period. The right to vote was just one aspect of it. But there was also just a sense of superiority by men at that time. Women were just expected to cook, maintain the house and scrub pavements. So that for example if a woman was a preacher she would be subjected to criticism unlike a man in a similar profession. In a sense any woman who objected to the status quo was political.

It’s a fascinating read. Special mention should go to Jane Williams’ forensic demolition on an official report in 1848 which, amongst other things labelled Welsh women sexually wanton.

Many subjects including education and the right to vote are covered here all worthwhile for the reader I assure you …except possibly one.

I say “possibly” because this shows my ignorance more than anything else (which is why I picked it from the Honno catalogue) but in this book on Welsh women’s political writings there is no mention of the I word.

Independence.

Again let me repeat that this shows my ignorance on the subject but it would be surprise me greatly that for a whole century there was no woman who put pen to paper and said that what Wales needed was to be a separate nation again.

You might say (as I explained earlier) that there were other immediate and pressing concerns. And you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean an absence of an opinion on this issue. Trust me if there is one thing I know about Welsh women it’s that they’re not shy in expressing a view on anything!

So it’s an important book. A book worth reading. Whether there is a flaw in it though is for people more knowledgeable than me to advise upon.

The Honno press website showcasing works past and present by Welsh women writers is https://www.honno.co.uk . They have a sale on currently in that site.

I know I’ll be buying works from that publishing house again.

Until the next time.