E. Wyn James1
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  • 1 Cardiff University
Cushions, Copy-books and Computers: Ann Griffiths (1776-1805), her Hymns and Letters and their Transmission
in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Ann Griffiths (1776-1805), was until comparatively recently the only female poet of any real prominence in the Welsh literary tradition. Born Ann Thomas, she lived all her life in rural Montgomeryshire. Ann experienced evangelical conversion aged 20 and joined the Calvinistic Methodists. She became noted for the depth of her spirituality and began producing verses encapsulating her insights and experiences. Of the seventy-three stanzas and eight letters attributed to her, only one letter and one verse survive in her own hand, most of the extant verses having been transmitted orally to her maidservant, Ruth Evans. About two-thirds were published in early 1806, a few months after Anns death following childbirth, and were immediately acknowledged as religious verse of the highest order. They are characterized by a fervent subjectivism blended with an objective wondering and a plethora of biblical allusions and typology. The transmission of her hymns and letters has taken various forms - oral, manuscript and print - and most recently electronically, on the ‘Ann Griffiths Website’ in particular.

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