Hunangofiant Rhys Lewis, gweinidog Bethel


Daniel Owen is one of Wales’s most noted novelists. In his childhood he received little education and during his early career he worked at a tailor’s shop. This working environment gave him the opportunity to converse and debate with various individuals about a plethora of topics, and these experiences shine through in his characters and their dialogue. In 1865 Owen went to Bala C.M. College, he did not excel as a student, however he was well read and took great interest in English literature. At the request of Roger Edwards, he contributed his first novel – ‘Y Dreflan’, chapter by chapter in ‘Y Drysorfa’, a Calvinist Methodist publication. Between 1882 and 1885 Owen wrote and also contributed his novel ‘Hunangofiant Rhys Lewis, gweinidog Bethel’, in the same divided manner to ‘Y Drysorfa’. In ‘Rhys Lewis’, Daniel Owen explores a Welsh community that revolves around the chapel. One can recognise a common thread in all of his works, which is the inclusion of characters that form a rural society. The author chose an autobiographical method to tell Rhys Lewis’s story, an imaginary minister of Bethel Chapel. This publication was a substantial step forward in the history of the Welsh novel.