Brad y Llyfrau Gleision


R. J. Derfel was a poet, writer and socialist. His play ‘Brad y Llyfrau Gleision’ or ‘The Treachery of the Blue Books’ was a direct reaction to the criticisms presented in the 1847 ‘Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales’, also referred to as ‘The Blue Books’. Derfel portrays Wales as an extremely godly country in his play, which makes it an intolerable destination for the demons. These demons however are excepting of Welsh clergymen, a group that provided most of the evidence used in the 1847 reports. Many Welsh clergymen were accused, mostly by devoted Nonconformists, of betrayal during the inquiry, and it’s no surprise that they are accepted by the occupants of hell. During the second act Beelzebub (prince of the demons) sends three spies to assess the state of the Welsh people, not dissimilar to the three deputies appointed to carry out the 1847 inquiry. The ‘Treachery’ however is committed by the Church goers and clergymen. Many, including Derfel, thought that their evidence enhanced and even fed The Blue Books’ anti-Welsh judgements. The play was inspired by the tale of the “Treachery of the Long Knives”.