The late T. Gwynn Jones appended to his biography of Emrys ap Iwan , 1912 , a list of over eighty of his letters and articles to the press which appeared between 1876 and his death. They appeared mostly in Y Faner and Y Geninen . Much of his work is also found in the additions to Y Gwyddoniadur . In the year of his death appeared a volume of his ‘homilies’ ( Homiliau ), edited by the Rev. Ezra Roberts ; another volume appeared in 1909 . Yet another collection of his sermons appeared in 1928 . Breuddwyd Pabydd wrth ei ewyllys (‘A Papist's wishful thinking’) was reprinted in two volumes in ‘ Llyfrau'r Ford Gron ,’ and the Welsh Book Club has published three volumes of his writings, 1937-40 . His Welsh grammar appeared in 1881 , and I. Ffoulkes published his cheap edition of Y Bardd Cwsc in 1898 . Much of his unpublished work is to be found in the National Library of Wales , including his translation of Renan 's Job .
As a literary critic , his chief work was to trace the main stream of Welsh classical prose tradition, and he strove to restore simplicity and purity in prose, in accordance with the standards which he found exemplified in the Welsh prose classics — a task similar to that of Sir John Morris-Jones in the field of Welsh verse.
Emrys ap Iwan was strongly influenced by Pascal and Paul-Louis Courier , and learnt from them the value of a well-written and succinct pamphlet as an instrument for challenging the opinion of his time and commanding attention. The technique of his writings owes much to these two writers . His underlying aim was to restore to the Welsh nation a sense of self-respect and confidence. He strove against every form of servility, and carried the fight to the field of his own denomination and to the Welsh and general politics of his day. His pen was his sword. Even his ostensible ‘election address’ to the electors of Anglesey was a pamphleteer's device. In this address he purported to offer himself as a ‘ Welsh candidate,’ and outlined a specifically Welsh policy including home-rule, and a pledge to remain separate from all English parties. This was the first election address along these lines.
He wrote out his sermons in extenso , and they were thus assured of a place among Welsh literary masterpieces. Whilst remaining loyal to the Welsh evangelical tradition , he sought to widen it through his contacts with the Catholic and Protestant mind of Europe in its various aspects, and to safeguard it from excesses of emotionalism and individualism by laying stress on conduct, on knowledge, and on social obligation.
His challenge to the prevailing outlook of his age in Wales , and his mordant style, made him suspect to many, and his influence was, therefore, largely delayed until after his death, and indeed until after the appearance of his biography by T. Gwynn Jones . His sterling qualities of character were, however, appreciated by those among whom he served as pastor , particularly his complete absence of self-seeking and his unsparing and highly original work among children and young people.
David Myrddin Lloyd, M.A., (1909-81), Aberystwyth / Scotland
Published date: 1959